Online peer support

Online peer support is a confidential FREE service available to anyone over the age of 16 living with or affected by HIV. The service is available across the UK and to British nationals living or working outside the UK.

We recognise privacy can be a barrier for some people seeking support. Working remotely can help overcome many of the concerns you may have. Online appointments can be delivered using text, voice or video calls, so you remain in control of your privacy which is very important to us. We use Skype or WhatsApp where you can ‘meet’ an experienced peer support volunteer in the comfort of your own home.

Appointments typically last approximately 50 minutes, and you’ll always work with the same peer support volunteer. Our volunteers use a private space to ensure your conversations remain confidential at all times.

Register & booking your appointments

The registration process is in 2 parts. The first is a short questionnaire which helps us better understand the support you require. We ask for minimum of personal information when you register, which includes an email address, mobile number and a username which can be an alias or just your first name.

On completion of the questionnaire you’ll be directed to the second part of the registration process, where you can book your first appointment and then set up your password protected account. After this last step you’re done!

Making future appointments in very easy. Click on the appointment icon, choose the date and time from the calendar, sign in to your account to complete the process. You can also cancel or change any of your existing appointment in the same way. We’ll send you a confirmation email and a reminder the day before your appointment.

Register now

Click or touch the icon to register for online peer support.

Book now

Click or touch the icon to book or change your appointments.

Skype calls

Skype offers the flexibility of meeting your peer support volunteer from any device, be that a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer. For Skype our default is set to voice calls. Clicking the Skype icon will connect to our Skype account. Once connected you can add the video option if you wish.

If you don’t already have a Skype account set up, please click on the set-up Skype icon and follow the instructions on the website to download Skype or visit the App store or Google Play for smartphone and tablet apps.

Download Skype

Click or touch the icon to set up your Skype account.

Chat now

Click or touch the icon to start a voice call.

WhatsApp Calls

Some people prefer to use WhatsApp because of end to end encrypted security system. It’s a little less flexible than Skype in that the voice and video services are only available on smartphone and tablet apps. WhatsApp web is a great way to chat using a laptop or desktop device.

Our default for WhatsApp is set to instant message chat. When you click on the icon, you’ll be connected to our WhatsApp account with the pre-loaded message. You can switch to voice or video should you wish once your peer support volunteer is online.

If you don’t already have WhatsApp set up, click on the set-up icon and follow the instructions on the website to download WhatsApp web, or visit the App store or Google Play for smart phone and tablet apps.

Download WhatsApp

Click or touch the icon to set up your WhatsApp account.

Chat now

Click or touch the icon to connect via instant chat.

If you have any difficulties, please email

Read more about online peer support

What is peer support?

Peer support can take many different formats. In person, online, one to one, in group settings to name a few. Informal peer support networks often develop amongst our friends, work colleagues or wider community groups, and can be a very effective peer support networks. Formal or structured peer support can be defined as.. ‘a voluntary, mutually beneficial and purposeful relationship, which is usually limited in time, where the person providing the peer support uses his or her own experience and knowledge to help others to move towards a goal or set of goals that enables that individual to meet their full potential’.

Peer support can be delivered as part of wider support services within some clinics, charities and other community organisations. Not everyone living with HIV will have access to ‘face to face’ services which is where online peer support can provide a convenient solution. We appreciate that some people living with HIV may not feel ready to meet others in a face to face situation, and this can be another great advantage of ‘meeting’ a peer support volunteer online.

How can peer support help?

It is well established that peer support should form an integral part of the care people living with HIV receive. This is particularly important for those individuals who are received a recent diagnosis, where having the opportunity to talk with someone living with HIV can be extremely beneficial and empowering. Some of the more important areas where peer support can be beneficial include:

  • Sharing of lived experience of life with HIV
  • Providing an authentic, up to date point of view of life with HIV
  • Develop an understanding that HIV is a manageable condition
  • Understand HIV treatment is well tolerated & easy to take
  • Understand of some of the practicalities of living with HIV
  • Develop a sense of community to avoid the feeling of isolation

What are the benefits of online peer support?

The use of online technology has been used to extend the reach of peer support services for many years and has been shown to be acceptable to people living with or affected by HIV. Some of the benefits of online peer support include:

  • Convenience and not having to travel to a particular venue
  • A feeling of safety as peer support takes place in the home environment
  • Anonymity can be guaranteed as peer support is remotely delivered
  • Development of the peer to peer relationship in a shorter time period
  • Allows partners and carers to be invited to peer support sessions
  • Provides a stepping stone into traditional in person support

You can find out more about peer support for people living with HIV by visiting the HIV peer support website