Travel & sleepovers
Travelling, school trips and sleepovers are an important part of growing up. It’s where a child can become more independent, and learn to take responsibility for themselves. They’re also a huge amount of fun. If a school or household does not know that a child has HIV and takes HIV medication, these things may seem a little difficult.
A child with HIV may often feel different and isolated. It is important to encourage them to participate in as much of their school and social life as they can and allow them to have the same opportunities as their friends.
If you can afford it, then a child should be given the opportunity to go on school trips. If they take medication, this should not stop them going away. If the school knows your child has HIV, discuss the issue of medication with a member of staff you know and trust. If the school does not know, you may decide it is time to tell them. Get support on sharing their HIV status with the school.
If the school does not know and you are not ready to tell them, we would advise that you book an appointment with the child’s nurse at clinic to discuss the options you have. If a child is able to manage their own medication, the nurse will help you and the child work out how this can best be managed. If they cannot, then the nurse may be able to give you alternative suggestions.
Many schools now run trips for teenagers where they can go abroad. Accidents and ill health are highly unlikely, but if a child or young person you are the parent or carer for is going abroad with school, it is important that you make sure your child has travel insurance that covers their HIV.
If the school does not know they have HIV, you need to talk with them about how both of you will manage this.
It’s best if the school is aware that they are living with HIV, so that if they are in an accident they can receive the care they need. If this is not possible, it should not stop the child going on the trip. If they were in an accident or became ill, the school would contact you immediately so you could then advise them, if needed, about your child’s HIV.
By planning in advance, you will have agreed with your child what will happen when, and who will be told.
There are insurance companies that specialise in insuring people living with HIV, so you can get separate health insurance. Some HIV-friendly companies are: It’s so easy, Good To Go and World First, so call around to get your best quote.
If a child or young person you are the parent or carer for has been invited to a sleepover, and you do not want to tell the family that your child has HIV, it’s still possible for them to go.
If the child knows about their HIV, you can talk about this together and decide what you will do about the medicine. They may be at an age where they can manage their medication themselves, but from our experience of taking young people away, if there are lots of things going on, it is good to have an adult who can remind your child to take their medication and have somewhere to store it safely away from the other children. A simple way you can do this is through a text message if they have a mobile phone, or a pill box with an alarm on it – your nurse should be able to get you one of these.
- Try to plan this beforehand so you and the child are comfortable with how their medication is managed when they are away from home.
- Use pill boxes as these are unmarked so no-one can tell what the medicine is.
- Talk to the child’s nurse and get advice and guidance.