We aim to respond to their needs flexibly and ensure we can offer support, if it means getting on a train and crossing the country to meet up with a young person in crisis, take them for a meal and spend time listening to them, we will always aim to be able to offer that support.

Our day to day work often involves supporting young people who get in touch. They may be people we already know through our projects or young people who find out about us and want advice and support. We may have a one to one conversation with someone, meet them in a café, or speak on the phone. We try to be flexible and respond with support in whatever way the young person feels most comfortable.

Here is some insight into some of the issues young people have got in touch with us about and who we have been supporting in September: 

A young woman who has been involved in lots of our work needed support due to domestic abuse at home which she was being exposed to.

A young women who is dealing with a particularly traumatic event in the summer and has no local support outside her health clinic. She has no parents and is struggling with being at university. The way in which she feels about having HIV is affecting her ability to focus on her studies, she is having difficulty managing friendships and relationships......feeling she cannot be herself and fearing their rejection if they find out about her HIV. These fears and anxieties are compounded by her traumatic experiences and having a significant impact on her emotional well being.

A young woman who is homeless and estranged from her family, currently living in hostel accommodation. She hasn’t attended her clinic appointments in over a year and is off her medicine. She really worries about this but the instability in her life at the moment makes attending to her health care needs too difficult for her.

A young woman in care who is experiencing mental health difficulties and is very scared of wider professionals and others learning about her HIV due to past experiences of rejection and discrimination.

A parent who is struggling to cope with her teenage daughter who she feels cannot accept living with HIV. She is worried about her mental health and finding it difficult to cope.

Wider challenges and difficulties can compound the experience of isolation and stigma that we see with a lot of children and young people growing up with HIV.  Our approach is fundamentally about creating trusting relationships, enabling young people to turn to us when they experience difficulties or are in crisis, as they have already trusted CHIVA with the information they can find the most difficult to share- their HIV status. We aim to respond to their needs flexibly and ensure we can offer support, if it means getting on a train and crossing the country to meet up with a young person in crisis, take them for a meal and spend time listening to them, we will always aim to be able to offer that support. We may get involved with advocating for them with other services, or helping them to access peer support through our peer networks.

At the end of the month it was great to be able to have Ed visit us in Bristol. Abi drove the kit car for Ed’s marathons in the South West and they both featured on BBC Radio Bristol. Well done Ed on an incredible achievement – we are in awe of you! We hope you are recovering well- it was an immense physical and mental challenge.