Enhancing the health and social wellbeing of children and young people living with HIV

U13's group

February 2019

6 young people between 10-14 years attended the day event in Bristol. The day included an open and honest conversation about when they had been told about their HIV status. Participants watched the film they had created in October. As some members of the group had not been there, they shared their first impressions feedback 'It’s really good but I think it needs more facts'. This led onto a conversation about the poor HIV education that some had received at school. 'My teacher didn't know anything about HIV, after she did the lesson people were laughing about AIDS and all that'.  D suggested that all schools should have to have compulsory education from CHIVA because schools don't know how to do it properly.  ‘I like that here we just talk openly about it’

November 2018

6 girls aged 8 to 14 years old attended a South West Regional peer support weekend for children and young people living with HIV.    

We were joined by the Participation Worker for The Association of Young People’s Health (AYPH) to  collaborate on producing an animated film that imagines an idealised world where young people are supported with the challenges of living with HIV to reach their potential. 

We began by looking at the challenges of growing up with HIV. Young people listed their individual challenges. From this exercise we found many common issues which could be grouped into 3 themes: 

• Having to be ‘perfect’ and putting on a front
• Taking medicine
• Not being able to talk about HIV.

The group looked at their support services, and thought about what they do to help alleviate some of their challenges. These ranged from sports and social activities with friends, to talking to family members, support staff at school who know about their HIV, or CHIVA friends. 

Participants were encouraged to use their imaginations for the basic storyline for the film and this is a flavour of what they said:

 ‘A community where we’re not always on our phones/social media’
‘Not being pressured at school/less pressure overall’
‘People can always see support systems, we can always access someone we can talk to who won’t judge’

The animation is now finished, and we launched it with a friends and family screening at the Cube Cinema in Bristol in May 2019. You can view and share the film here.

Read our full report on the project, including all the behind the scenes discussions here: