Young people from Chiva take a trip to AIDS 2022 conference in Canada

Two of the Chiva Youth Committee went to AIDS 2022 in Montreal, Canada, in July to represent Chiva at the conference. In this blog we hear from one of the young people about their experience. 

I’m so glad I went to AIDS 2022 in Canada because I learned so, so many things with many different people. 

As a group of young people from Chiva, we got to go on stage and talk to people from around the world about the challenges that young people living with HIV face due to the different aspects of discrimination with living with HIV. After one talk, a paediatric doctor came up to us, tearing up, telling us that we are making such a difference by talking to many, many people and trying to open their eyes about children with HIV and what struggles they have. Being able to share our experiences and get this kind of feedback was just a great feeling in general.

We also had different people from around the world approach us to tell us their stories about their struggles with HIV.

On a different day I also did a speech with some researchers about bridging the gap between youth, adolescents and researchers so that young people can have more meaningful participation in HIV research. 

We also had a meeting with Florence Eshalomi MP who is a Co – Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for HIV and AIDS in the UK. We talked about: how we can reduce the amount of stigma in schools, colleges and universities; what improvements need to be made; and about the work Chiva has done recently in this area to make these improvements.

By chance we met Canada’s health MP. We were surprised and a bit overwhelmed when a lot of cameras started taking photos all around us, but it was a good opportunity to talk about Chiva nevertheless.

We got to listen to talks on diverse topics and we also got to help at the Chiva stand in the Global Village, where oral historian Wendy Rickard was recording people’s life stories for the Positively Spoken project. 

I made new friends, and gained more knowledge about HIV and how nurses, doctors, scientists or researchers from around the world deal with HIV and how they support the kids or youth and those over 18 that have HIV. 

I would definitely do it again. It was such a great experience for me because I want to be a nurse and I gained knowledge of what I need to do to achieve that for my future.