What we've been up to this month:

CHIVA provide a support service to clinics in Wales and the South West region. Children with HIV attending clinics often present with many more complex issues than their health diagnosis alone. Our presence in clinics means we can help provide some of the wider social and family support children need.

We have recently been supporting a young man *Dagmowi who arrived as an unaccompanied refugee child. He has HIV. He is in the UK alone without any family members and lives in a hostel. 

A CHIVA staff member first met him at clinic and began to gain his trust and learn from him some of his experiences and current difficulties. Dagmowi had experienced significant trauma during his journey here. He must now manage settling into a new country, learning a new language and understanding what HIV means and how he can manage his health, adhere to his medication regime, all without any family support. 

Following their first meeting at clinic, the CHIVA staff member then visited him in his hostel. She has been able to establish his trust, help him understand his HIV better through engaging him in visual games which help with his understanding, as his English language is limited. This month CHIVA arranged for him to meet with an older peer who also lives with HIV, providing him with some reassurance that he can live well with HIV, with access to clinical care and treatment. 

This coming weekend Dagmowi will attend his first peer support group in South West where he will meet many more young people with HIV, we hope from this he will be able to start to build an important peer support network, to help him develop the strength and resilience he needs. 

(* not his real name)