HIV support services are likely to be the first people that a family affected by HIV turn to for help

Male project worker at table with young carer

'We are agreed that the term 'young carer' should be taken to include children and young people under 18 who provide regular and ongoing care and emotional support to a family member who is physically or mentally ill, disabled or misuses substances. The term does not apply to the everyday and occasional help around the home that may often be expected of or given by children in families and is part of community and family cohesion.' - No Wrong Doors

HIV support services

HIV support services are likely to be the first people that a family affected by HIV turn to for help. Whether you work in the statutory or voluntary sector, with adults or children, you may be the only person who is able to ask the right questions to find out whether a child is taking on caring responsibilities. Timely young carers assessments and re-assessment for the cared for person, intervention and support should prevent a child undertaking inappropriate levels of care and could offer much valued support for children, young people and their families.

HIV services should be aware of young carers’ project in their area, though some young people and families may not wish to access generic young carers services due to the actual and anticipated stigma which surrounds HIV.

Some HIV services have been in a position to create their own young carers support with great success, being able to offer both specialist HIV support and young carer provision which offers both respite and participation in the development of services and focuses on supporting the whole family.

Young carers’ organisations work successfully with other stigmatised conditions such as parental mental ill health or substance misuse. Therefore they should be able to offer a safe, confidential and supportive setting for all young carers affected by HIV, who as with all young carers are first and foremost young people.