Summer meet-ups: A London picnic and bowling in Birmingham

As well as the Freedom 2 Be summer camp, our regional staff have been busy organising local meet ups this summer to ensure young people and their families in both London and Birmingham are able to connect with each other.

Teen bowling and talking medication

In July, nine young people got together from across the Midlands. The 11-17-year-olds spent the day talking medication and finished up with a bit of bowling. We were excited to welcome three young people who were completely new to Chiva and were also grateful for the help from a young adult who has previously volunteered as a Camp Leader.

The good news is most of those attending said they do not have issues or concerns when it comes to taking their medication. A few others said they find it annoying, and that it can sometimes leave a horrible taste in their mouth. As well as general information, we reminded those attending that if they miss a dose of their medicine, they shouldn’t take a double dose, which some didn’t know.

One young person felt reassured by the session, saying they were happy now as they knew that their younger sibling couldn’t get HIV.

The young people were also encouraging each other to get more involved with Chiva, attend camp and join the Chiva Youth Committee, which is always great to see.

A meet up for parents and little ones

A special space was also made later in the summer for little ones and their parents, those too young to attend camp.

As there are far less children living with HIV in this age group, it can be even more isolating for them, and this is why meet ups of this kind are so important.

Parents and young children joined us for a picnic, with parachute games for the younger ones and discussions among the adults. They talked about their clinics, any issues with those, and at what stage they were going to tell their children about their HIV.

Afterwards, one parent said they’d learnt that “some of the things my child is experiencing are not isolated to them.”

Another parent from the day shared their gratitude.

As this group gets smaller, they will continue to need more opportunities to meet to decrease isolation.