Young People Living with HIV in the South West – ‘Double 0 Positive/00+’
CHIVA has been awarded a 2-year grant from Simply Health to develop a peer support service for children and young people living with HIV in the South West of England.
Currently there are 40 children and young people with HIV living across the South West of England and treated at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children. There is no other support provision for this group and many have never met another HIV positive young person or had the opportunity to access specialist support and information.
A few years ago, a consultation was run in partnership with Bristol Royal Hospital for Children with some of these young people to look at their support needs and how these could be met. The young people said they needed one-to-one support, and to meet up with their peers to learn about HIV, and take part in social activities together so they can build friendships.
We have a clear programme of work set up to support these children which includes having a member of CHIVA staff present during clinic times, working with the paediatric HIV team at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, and having the time to talk with families and children there. Where needed, we provide additional support, offered through structured home-visits, one-to-one work with children, and four times a year (in school holidays) bringing together these young people to run a peer support group.
The group is a place to learn and discuss the issues of growing up with HIV, such as how HIV impacts on the immune system and how medication works. It also explores psychosocial issues relating to the stigma of HIV, such as self-stigma and poor self-esteem, and how these impact on adherence to medicine and general life experiences.
The group has now met four times so far. Members came up with the group name ‘00+’ (Double 0 Positive) and created plans for the next 2 years including a seperate group for younger participants aged 9-12.
For more information contact Abi.firstname.lastname@example.org 07807 705062 0117 910 5226