To address the special psychosocial and emotional needs and concerns of human immunodeficiency virus–infected children through a medical student–based Big Brother/Big Sister program.
A telephone survey of 9 medical students who participated in the program in the last 4 years was undertaken to assess their experiences and feelings about the program.
The experiences resulting from participation in the program were unanimously positive. The medical students stated that in no other medical setting were they able to develop a better understanding of the feelings and emotions of living with a terminal illness. The volunteers also believed that the program increased the benefits for the child and the medical student.
Initial evaluation of the Big Brother/Big Sister program for human immunodeficiency virus–infected children suggests that it helped establish a strong, supportive relationship between the affected child and the medical student. A modified program in other medical schools may help to serve many other communities affected by the human immunodeficiency virus epidemic.Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151:189-192