Challenging HIV stigma and raising awareness

Just before the half-term break, our good friend, and Esteem educator, Hannah Musa, joined us at a London school. Together we led a session with more than 100 year 12 students, who we’ve been running a series of Esteem RSE sessions for.

During the session, Hannah spoke movingly about her experience of living with HIV – what it was like to learn her status, the fears that she faced and the stigma and discrimination she’s experienced from some people.

Hannah also talked about the fact that her viral load is actually undetectable thanks to the advances of medication and, although there is still no cure for HIV, the treatment means that those living with HIV can now have a normal or near-normal life expectancy with an early diagnosis.

Young person gives feedback on Esteem lessons

We are so grateful to Hannah for being willing to share her story, raising awareness with young people and working to challenge the stigma and discrimination that people living with HIV can face. Sharing life stories makes such a difference to the young people we work with.

We always ask young people to feedback at the end of Esteem RSE sessions, to tell us what they thought, what they learnt and any other topics they’d like us to cover. This helps us develop our programme, keeping it relevant and up to date.

‘There’s something really special about hearing a personal story from someone you can see.’ 

‘… an opportunity to speak comfortably...I wouldn’t necessarily be able to talk to my parents (without the fear of being judged).’

‘...engaging, eye-opening, positive, inspiring... '

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