U13's group

June 2018 Meet-up

5 participants aged between 8 -14 years old attended a younger persons meet up in Bristol in June. After some warm-up activities participants were introduced to the theme of HIV where they discussed shared experiences, talking to other family members about their HIV and talking to their employers in the future.
Another discussion was around education and schools. Participants showed a strong desire for schools to be more educated and in turn be more able to hold their status in confidence, in order to support them better.
Responses from the activity 'Game of life':

Q. What three things would help make it easier for you living with HIV at school?
A 1) For the school to be more educated, one teacher didn’t even know all the ways HIV is passed on 2) For my friends to know
3) For it to be a normal thing. 

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Under 13's weekend.

7 girls, aged 9 to 13 years attended a South West regional peer support weekend for children and young people living with HIV. This event provided them with many opportunities to talk about their experiences with their peers, explore their feelings about living with HIV, and form friendships based on shared experiences. For some, they had never met another person living with HIV outside of their own family. Participants had many basic questions about living with HIV. Although they would have covered this at clinic appointments, it is clear that information needs to be revisited again and again and that each new piece of learning gives rise to new questions: ‘Will I have it for life?’ ‘What is AIDS?’ ‘The Dr's said I’m not allowed to see them on my own, but I’d like to’.

The participants bonded well as a group and were observed to talk and laugh together freely. When asked how they felt about the weekend and being part of a CHIVA group they said: ‘It’s like a new life that you never knew about until now’ ‘It makes you feel smarter’ ‘I wish we could stay for a week’. ‘I learnt that HIV is yet to be cured but without it I wouldn’t be part of CHIVA or meet any of the people I know today’.

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