Tuesday, 1 December 2015

#WorldAIDSDay - poetry and pledges

A World AIDS Day display at Brook Oldham
Today (1 December) is #WorldAIDSDay #WAD2015.

Brook has endorsed new guidance from the Children’s HIV Association (CHIVA) on HIV Friendly Schools, which are really important for children and young people living with HIV, as this Guardian article shows.

Here's a poem written by the CHIVA youth committee (@freedom2spk) on what it's like living with HIV, and experiencing stigma – a powerful piece. 
I sat in a classroom afraid to speak up, I had the words to scream but my mouth got stuck.
Oppressed and silenced, mistreated inside, trying to stand up, but forced to hide.

Once it was a death sentence, I'm still alive, even in the present, HIV is stigmatised.
I live a double life, that I'd like you to understand, I'm HIV positive, but this was never planned.
They say school is a safe place, but not in my case.
Forever stigmatised in a sea of struggling, they say "don't die of ignorance" the message was troubling.
I dream of a future, where stigma is no more, I want to see a change, from those that went before.
I can still live a life full of love, joy, ambition, success and health.
What do we need from you?
Educate yourself.

Our pledge for #LiveHIVNeutral - education is key to tackling
the stigma and ignorance surrounding HIV.
We’re also encouraging people to take the Live HIV Neutral pledge, promising to tackle HIV stigma and ignorance whenever you encounter it – whatever your serostatus. The need to tackle stigma is underlined by this GMFA video, featuring examples of the types of messages sent to men with HIV on dating and hookup apps.

Brook’s services around the UK will be marking World AIDS Day by educating young people about HIV, and promoting safer sex – young people’s knowledge of HIV is worryingly low.

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