Kara Winney - BodyandSoul Charity gave a talk to our sixth form students on Monday 16th January.
‘Life in my Shoes’
This week’s assembly centred around raising awareness about HIV and how it affects people living with it. As one young individual living with HIV stated ‘The most difficult symptom of living with HIV is the way other people perceive and treat you.’ The organisation works with hundreds of young people affected by HIV and provides a safe, non-judgemental environment for them to share their experiences and concerns. Kara explained that there are many misconceptions about HIV because it is not spoken about enough. Contrary to popular belief, the highest instances of HIV are found in heterosexual, not homosexual, men; 1 in 4 people who are HIV+ are unaware of it and in the Camden Borough alone HIV affects the lives of 1 in 7 children.
We watched a very hard hitting film, based on real events, depicting the harrowing experience of a young student who was hounded by her peers when they found out she was HIV positive. Kara explained that this was unfortunately the experience of many young people, and that often they have had to be relocated to another area and a new school. She stressed however, that the Organisation finds that young people are very resilient and, with the right support, they do learn to overcome these experiences. We felt very proud to hear that one very influential member of the organisation is an ex-Camden student!
Kara told us we could volunteer to help out with the organisation’s work supporting the hundreds of young people they work with. But most of all she stressed the importance of being sensitive to the issue and the way we behave and talk about HIV.