How to support young carers suffering from stigma and discrimination

Teenage male standing in front of whit wall

The problems with stigma and discrimination

Stigma continues to disproportionately affect people living with HIV.

Families affected by HIV are often discriminated against when their status is discovered. Many people keep their status a secret for as long as possible because they fear people’s reactions. A large proportion of children and young people living with and affected by HIV are not told about their own or family member’s status. Parents/carers fear the children’s reaction, and that the child/children will not uphold confidentiality.  It is very common for children to not know about a family member’s HIV status, whether that is the parent/carer or a sibling, although many HIV affected young people have reported finding out years before actually being told.

What needs to be done

For young carers ‘keeping a secret’ results in added pressure and stress for them. It can be very isolating and affect their well-being and social interactions.

In order to tackle this stigma, it is vital that this group are present in all generic children’s services, and that services acknowledge that this stigma exists, putting policies and practice into action to ensure the service is a safe place for young carers and their families affected by HIV.