Raising awareness of HIV
A top doctor in infectious diseases has teamed up with medical students from Southampton General Hospital to raise awareness of HIV among local school children.
Working with Support for International Change (SIC), the UK project trains medical students to deliver HIV and global health lessons to school children aged 11 to 18.
Leading the HIV education (HIVE) programme in Southampton is Dr Sanjay Patel, paediatric consultant in infectious diseases, who, alongside newly-qualified doctor Clare Smith, has produced curriculum guidelines to increase pupils’ understanding and knowledge of the HIV epidemic.
Through a number of interactive workshops, Dr Patel and his team of University of Southampton medical students discuss transmission of the disease, what it is like to live with HIV, its effects on the third world and the latest treatment options.
Their aim is to challenge attitudes towards HIV and maintain awareness of the disease among future generations. This year alone they have seen more than 1,000 students from schools across the region.
“Providing up-to-date, accurate information on HIV among this age group is hugely important in order to raise their awareness of this disease,” said Dr Patel.
“Not only do we need to constantly review what we are teaching as things change so quickly but we also need to make sure young people are sympathetic to the situation HIV sufferers find themselves in.
“The stigma attached to HIV can sometimes far outweigh the trauma of actually having the disease.”