welcome to the buddy verein

we are a non-governmental volunteer organization supporting people with hiv / aids

it is the purpose of our initiative to improve the psycho-social situation of people living with hiv / aids


office hours: tue + fri 10:00 - 13:00
address: 1060 wien, mariahilfer gürtel 4
phone: +43 - (0)664 18 555 54
mail: office@buddy-verein.org


we are working for .........
renata has been hiv-positive for many years. in the beginning she withdrew from her then boyfriend as well as from her colleagues at work. some very lonely years followed. 18 months ago she started taking the combination therapy. this not only helped her to become physically stronger, as a consequence she is now more optimistic and outgoing again. she wants her buddy to stand her mood swings with her when she oszillates between her new hope and the old fears. when just recently she bought a new rug for her living room a helper cell came and carried it home with her.

robert has been on a drug substitute for years. he is presently living with his girlfriend but this can change any time. only recently he was diagnosed with fully developed aids symptoms. he does not feel the need to engage in a longer lasting relationship with a buddy. during his increasingly longer stays in the hospital, though, he does not want to feel lonely. so two helper cells take turns visiting him.

andrea is depressed and suicidal. she has just settled into a flat in a public housing project. a group of helper cells helped with packing and unpacking her things. as her health is starting to fail, she spends most of her time in her apartment. managing everyday life is too much of a demand. she finds it supportive that her buddy puts together a weekly plan of little chores like ‘clean the desk', or ‘daily menu', or ‘make a drawing from memory'. this helps making her days more structured and less passive. she also wants her buddy to bring her books from the public library which they can then talk about.

mehmet is hiv-positive but in good health. he has been living with his partner for eight years. he goes to work every day, his colleagues don't know about his infection. mehmet does not want to put extra strain on his partner by talking too frequently about his feelings and fears. he talks about them with his buddy with whom he can discuss these issues, but they also go for long walks or watch comedies and cabarets together. this helps him to feel more autonomous.

henry is living in his own apartment. he is part of a nice group of reliable friends. some others, though, have turned away after his positive antibody test. he wanted a buddy with whom he can talk about all the hiv-related issues. he is not afraid his buddy will abandon him when he talks ‘too much' about aids. when he went on a business trip for several days a helper cell came to feed his cats.

even today, hiv and aids still mean social isolation and stigmatization. in a difficult situation like this, people living the infection are often left to their own devices. here, the volunteers of the buddy verein assist in various ways. the basis of our work is the personal relationship with our clients as well as offering practical support which makes everyday life easier.

it is our understanding and goal to strengthen the personal resources of people living with the infection or the illness.


the buddy project

a buddy is a companion and much more. buddies are trained volunteers who offer "emotional company" to people with hiv or aids.

not everyone living with hiv / aids can rely on the support of friends or family. but even in case of a well functioning social network the significant others are at times overburdened, or feel under great emotional pressure themselves. not always do they see themselves in the position to maintain a continuing and supportive relationship. Here buddies can help by relieving the existing support system.
in other cases someone is asking for a buddy in order to have somebody to count on in addition to her/his partner. in some cases, though, a buddy is the only reliable person in the life of someone living with hiv / aids.

buddies meet with their ‘clients' regularly on a one-to-one basis. they see them at home or in the hospital, listen to them, laugh with them, or go to the movies or to a café together. in short, a buddy is reliably and personally there, at least once a week.
what is most important: a buddy accepts and supports his/her client just the way s/he is, without prejudice or value judgement.
with their continuing contact and friendship buddies offer a supportive social framework. thus, buddies can assist in strengthening the vital energies and coping skills. as a result, emotional crises and problems can easier be dealt with.

a viennese social worker just recently wrote to us: "through his buddy's care our patient gained self-confidence, he became more self-assured and sociable. he has developed his social contacts in a way that he now feels even able to go on vacation. the buddy's caring company has substantially increased mr. m.'s quality of life."
successes like these are making the work of our volunteers so very valuable.


the services of the buddy verein are free of charge. if you are interested please call our office or send an e-mail. also, our hospital service at the two aids units in vienna will be happy to answer your questions.

if you are considering the company of a buddy you will be invited (or visited at home or in the hospital) for a personal interview in which we can clarify your expectations and find out more about your hobbies and interests. meeting with you helps the project coordinator with getting an idea who could be the right buddy for you.


if you have questions regarding the buddy project please contact::
dr. nina arzberger
coordinator buddy project
tue 10:00 - 13:00
tel-# +43 - 1 - 524 65 64


the organization

in the course of all these years, hiv and aids have acquired more and more familiar faces - many of us have friends, relatives or acquaintances who are infected, have fallen ill or have passed away. an hiv-infection and its impact always produces a deep incision in one's life. it is connected to emotional crises for the person infected or sick as well as for the nearest and dearest. the usually applied coping strategies are frequently insufficient. familiar patterns of dealing with things often fail.

financial contributions like donations and charity events are certainly important. but equally necessary are personal contacts in solidarity with people who are living with hiv / aids. these contacts offer attentive listening, understanding worries and concerns, conveying warmth and kindness, and sharing humor and laughing. for that reason the buddy verein with its dual projects offers double support - emotional company (buddies) and practical support in everyday life (helper cells).

buddies have been active in vienna since 1986. back then, they were in a project of the aids service center, and this was the first volunteer care project for people with hiv / aids in austria. the helper cells-project was founded in december 1992.

in the spring of 1993 both projects separated from the aids service center. since then the work has continued within the framework of an independent organization. The buddy verein can offer its activities solely in the city of vienna.


our helper cells

our helper cells chose their name from the supporting cells of the human immune system. the social helper cells understand their work as a contribution to keeping up as long as possible the physical and social autonomy of a person living with hiv / aids.

they offer practical assistance in all kind of situations: they step in when friends and / or family need a brake, or when the home help service is prevented from coming. They are also there if someone cannot count on the support from relatives or social care facilities - because they either are not available or cannot cater to someone's individual needs.

the buddy verein's helper cells thus close the gap between institutionalized care, support from relatives, or 'emotional company' from buddies.

jobs are assigned according to a helper cell's personal skills and knowledge: they accompany clients to the outpatient clinic, to administrative offices or to the grocery store. they take care of plants and animals, and they check the mail if someone is admitted to the hospital. if a client is moving they help with packing and unpacking things. when going to the hairdresser's has become too exhausting a volunteer hairdresser makes a home visit.

to supply bedridden patients with everything they need at home helper cells work together with the mobile nursing service hiv-mobil: they pick up medication from the drug store, fetch prescriptions from the doctor or have them approved by the chief physician at the health insurance company.

for clients who need to be hospitalized for a longer period of time the helper cells project offers hospital visits.

if you need the services of helper cells we recommend you apply as early as possible. this allows our helper cell coordinator to find a volunteer in time. she will also gladly meet with you in case a more complex job needs to be planned.

if you have questions regarding the helper cells project please contact::
dsa gabriele leuthner-list, mas
coordinator helper cells project
fri 10:00 - 13:00
tel-# +43 -1 - 524 65 64


the organizational structure

the buddy verein includes two projects, the buddy-project (emotional company) and the helper cells-project (practical support at home and short term hospital visits). both projects are managed by coordinators.

the project-coordinators as well as the executive board are supported by our office-coordinator who will be happy to answer your questions to her best knowledge on tuesdays and fridays between 10:00 - 13:00.

approximately 30 volunteers are allocating their time as either buddy or helper cell for our clients. they are actively taking part in team meetings on a regular basis. in addition, buddies also attend supervision groups (helper cells do so as the need arises).

on a weekly basis our hospital service provides information for patients in the aids-units at the center for pulmonary diseases and the general hospital. ensuring direct contact to the hospitals the buddy-verein has the chance to respond to potential needs for our services as early as possible.

the executive board is managing the buddy verein in terms of organizational and administrative issues as well as general objectives. it currently consists of three board members.

the members of the buddy verein have a voice in matters regarding the organization. their membership fees contribute substantially to the financing of the verein's ongoing costs.


volunteer work

info would you like to get actively involved as a volunteer?
just fill out the application form!

working in both our projects is done on a volunteer basis, i.e. helper cells as well as buddies are allocating their time without being paid.

basic requirement for working as a helper cell or buddy is a preparatory training which the organization offers. it includes two intensive weekends and some evening lectures. your volunteer work should last for at least one year. in case you are already enrolled in a psychosocial training or are considering to do so we will be happy to issue an internship certificate for your work with the verein. due to organizational and financial constraints internships shorter than one year, e.g. for the summer months, are not possible.

criteria in the assessment process are sensitivity to the topic of hiv/aids, an ability to critically reflect on one's own actions, reliability, emotional stability, and being a good team player. respecting our clients' personalities and their different ways of living is of special importance to us.
working for the verein is not linked to any previous professional experience nor to a specific ideological or sexual identity. also, it is independent of someone's positive or negative hiv-status. for both projects, however, there is an average age limit when starting with us: on the basis of experience we go by an approximate guideline of about 20 years for helper cells and at least 24 years for buddies.

and although our volunteers speak different languages with our clients, a working knowledge of german is required for attending the training, the team meetings, and the supervision groups.

as an ongoing support for both projects there are team meetings on a regular basis. for buddies it is a requirement to attend a supervision group every other week. helper cells can receive supervision as the need arises. in addition, the buddy verein offers further trainings in seminars and workshops.

if you would like to start working with us please get in touch with our office. give us a call if you have any further questions or fill out our online application form right here.


the buddy verein needs support!
the buddy verein is alive primarily through the commitment of our volunteers. but there are also other ways of supporting the work of our organization:

  • volunteer work
  • becoming a member
  • making a donation


donations /  sponsoring
if you would like to support the buddy-verein financially we very much appreciate your donation to our

account for donations

WSK bank
bank code 44960
account number 440341

if you would like to contribute to our work as a company please send an e-mail to office@buddy-verein.org. we will be happy to inform you about possibilities of cooperation. a member of our board will promptly get in touch with you.

thank you!