A new resource called ‘Empowering Students: End HIV Stigma’ was officially launched at an event at Parliament on 23 March 2022, organised by UK charity CHIVA and hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on HIV and AIDS.
The new toolkit, developed by young people living with HIV, will enable teachers to educate young people with the facts about HIV in an engaging way and inspire them to become the generation that ends HIV stigma.
Young people growing up with HIV in the UK face a number of challenges. Many of the young people who use CHIVA services describe experiences where they have heard inaccurate information about HIV in schools, such as misinformation about how HIV can be transmitted from one person to another.
Young people living with HIV can feel powerless in these situations and are fearful to speak out because of the discrimination they may face. People often experience stigma or discrimination if they are living with HIV, and this is often based on myths and stereotypes.
The CHIVA Youth Committee (children and young people living with HIV) worked with trainer and facilitator, Camilla Gordon, to develop the education toolkit which is to be used in lessons alongside a screening of CHIVA’s award-winning short film, Life Growing Up. The film provides insights into the lived experiences of young people growing up with HIV in the UK.
All secondary schools in England are required to be delivering the Relationships and Sex Education guidance which was implemented in September 2021, and HIV should be included in that. The new toolkit is designed for key stages 3 and 4 and helps teachers to fulfil that requirement. The resource could also be useful for older age groups and wider education settings.
CHIVA has also worked in collaboration with the National Children’s Bureau to update the HIV in Schools guidance, which provides information for teachers and schools to ensure that a pupil who shares information about their HIV diagnosis will receive the appropriate support whilst confidentiality is respected.
Florence Eshalomi MP for Vauxhall, Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group HIV and AIDS said, “Schools who follow this guidance will be well equipped to support any children living with HIV. This alongside CHIVA’s education toolkit, will provide schools with the ideal package of resources to empower a generation of teachers and students with the knowledge needed to end HIV stigma. This fully aligns with the APPG’s aims to ensure that all people living with HIV have a good quality of life, free from stigma, discrimination and fear.”
The new toolkit and updated guidance can be found at: www.chiva.org.uk/education
Watch Life Growing Up at: www.chiva.org.uk/lifegrowingup
CHIVA carries out direct support work with children, young people and families living with HIV, and works with health professionals, to ensure that children and young people living with HIV have the treatment and care, knowledge, understanding, skills and wider support needed to live well and achieve their greatest potential.