Sustaining peer support groups: Insights from women living with HIV in rural Kenya

Peninnah M. Kako, Emmanuel Ngui, Tavonna Kako, Florine Ndakuya-Fitzgerald, Lucy Mkandawire-Valhmu, Anne E. Dressel, Augustine Kiplagat, Leonard E. Egede

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: As HIV transitions to a chronic disease, measures that foster continued health are critical. Peer support groups can help in reducing stigma and ensuring wellbeing for those living with HIV. The purpose of our study was to gain an understanding of the ways in which women living with HIV in rural areas sustain peer support groups. Design and sample: For this descriptive qualitative study, 20 women living with HIV participated in the study. Women were randomly divided into two peer support groups of ten women each; the groups met over a 12-month period. monthly for the first two months and then every three months for the remainder of the year. Results: Discussion themes indicated women found ways to sustain the groups by using them as a platform for engaging in income generation; starting and participating in table banking; addressing food security; and finding financial and moral support. Problem-solving challenges of sustaining peer support groups was also a major theme. Conclusion: As people live longer with HIV, long-term peer support will be needed to maintain wellbeing. Community-based peer support groups can be sustained by engaging women in common income-generation activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)588-595
Number of pages8
JournalPublic Health Nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the women who participated in this study for their time and wisdom they shared with us. This study was supported in part with funding from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Research Growth Initiative (RGI4).

Funding Information:
Financial support was tangible as women described how they benefited from the support group. Women acknowledged the financial benefits of the peer support when speaking of how their lives were better because of being in the group, as two women described:

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • income generation activities
  • peer support groups
  • women


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