Comment: Support for young people living with HIV
Thursday 27 August 2009
Fifteen young members living with or affected
by HIV from the Children and Young People HIV Network, based at
NCB, attended the 'Seventh Annual Meeting for Young People Affected
by HIV' in Barcelona from 22 to 26 July.
Clare is 19 and was born with HIV. This is her story:
"I became involved with the HIV Network two years ago. I live in
an area where there are no support groups, so I attend some of the
national events - it was great getting the opportunity to go to
"I wanted to go and meet other young people like me, living with
HIV, as I don't have the opportunity to meet many people at
"The HIV Network tries to bring people who don't have key
workers so they don't miss out on anything.
"In Barcelona, we did a drama workshop about disclosing our
status to a boyfriend or girlfriend, and a graffiti wall. I enjoyed
the graffiti wall the most.
"Our group painted a person breaking through a brick wall - it
meant the person had gone through a lot of challenges and now they
were breaking through them and being triumphant.
"In the UK, I think the biggest problem for young people living
with HIV is the stigma. If you tell people they might not want to
talk to you anymore or be friends. I haven't experienced much
discrimination because I haven't told anyone.
"I used to get upset, like at school, when people would talk
about HIV and say there is no cure and you will die if you have it.
I would get worried and think: am I going to die then?
"Now when I hear things like that, I just think these people
don't know any better. Educating people would improve things a lot
in the UK. People should be given the correct information and
taught about all different things like HIV.
"The best thing about the conference was meeting different
people and hopefully staying in touch with them."