ACET (AIDS charity)
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acet UK is a Christian charity with a mission to equip and inspire individuals, schools, churches and organisations, in the UK and internationally, to transform culture by promoting healthy self-esteem, positive relationships and good sexual health.
A heart for young people
Young people are growing up in a world where the meaning of sex is often diluted, porn is accessible at a click of a button, and where there can be an underlying message that relationships don’t really have to be good as long as they look good.
There is a lot of pressure to look a certain way and behave in a certain way and this can have a deep impact on how young people view themselves and how they make decisions.
Various research demonstrates that young people are in need of support to navigate through these issues and that they want trustworthy, relatable and trained people to deliver their relationships and sex education in a way that engages and inspires them.
Instead of traditional solutions that merely address the biology behind sex, acet UK and its international partners, and the people they train, offer relationships and sex education that invests in the development of young people’s self-esteem and attitudes, encouraging them to value other people and value sex.
The HIV landscape
Acet UK began in the 1980s, as a compassionate response to the HIV and AIDS pandemic. The HIV landscape, has of course, changed considerably since then. There have been substantial advances in antiretroviral treatment and vast improvements in the accessibility of the medication. However, stigma and discrimination are still present, in many countries not everyone who needs the treatment has access to it and HIV still has a significant impact on the lives of millions of adults and children across the world. Therefore, helping to facilitate the delivery of HIV prevention, care and support programmes in a number of key communities continues to be a priority.
In his work as a physician in the 1980s, ACET founder, Dr Patrick Dixon, began to meet patients with HIV, who had been refused care at home or in hospices as a result of the fear and discrimination that surrounded a then largely unknown and misunderstood virus. Following the publication of his book The Truth About AIDS, Patrick founded ACET in 1988, as a compassionate response to the HIV pandemic.
ACET grew rapidly, providing home care for HIV/AIDS patients across Greater London, as well as delivering an HIV prevention program in schools. Trained volunteers were supported by a professional team, and soon home care and schools teams developed in other parts of the UK. Independent ACET teams were also established in Uganda, Thailand, Romania and other countries.
In the UK, partly as a result of campaigning by ACET, the National Health Service eventually took responsibility for the care of HIV patients. Awareness of how the virus is transmitted and can be prevented grew, and the first anti-retroviral medicines, which could control the HIV virus and prevent AIDS from developing, were made available.
However, HIV and AIDS remained a huge problem in other countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. Lack of knowledge about the virus, stigma and poor access to treatment resulted in the rapid spread of HIV, many AIDS deaths and millions of children being orphaned. acet UK began to focus on providing technical and financial support for other ACET teams who were working in countries facing these challenges. In the meantime, the UK schools program developed to become Esteem, which now covered a wider spectrum of relationships and sex education. In 2002, Esteem became part of Oasis Trust and then an independent charity in 2011. Throughout all these changes, Esteem and acet UK continued to work closely together, and in 2014 Esteem once again became an acet UK project.
acet UK’s Esteem team now equip youth and schools workers, teachers and health professionals with the knowledge, skills, resources, and confidence to educate young people across the UK about relationships and sex. They also deliver the program directly to young people themselves, with best practice models in Southwark and Cheshire, and are increasingly working with parents to support them in engaging with their children on these topics.
Many of the ACET teams overseas have also developed their services in response to the needs of their own beneficiaries: services include prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission, HIV testing and counselling, support of orphans and vulnerable children, as well as training and capacity-building of churches and community organisations to deliver high-impact HIV care and prevention programs.
acet UK's work includes:
- Educating young people through their Esteem program
- Sharing their expertise on these issues through delivering Esteem training and providing resources to those who work with young people and communities, including youth workers, teachers and health practitioners
- Providing support to parents on how to talk to their children about relationships and sex
- Training and mobilising churches to facilitate conversations around relationships and sex
- Working with and training international partners who share acet UK's vision and mission and who are committed to mobilising the church to promote healthy relationships, improve sexual health and respond to the HIV pandemic
- Providing a channel for donors to support the work of acet UK's international partners in delivering education and training, and care for those whose lives have been affected by HIV/AIDS
- Patrick Dixon, founder of ACET
- acet UK website
- АСЕТ Ukraine website
- Charity Commission. ACET (AIDS charity), registered charity no. 299293.
- ACET Ireland website
- ACET Belarus website
- "Christian Parents Fear Sex Presentations Will Be Forced on Kids After UK Mandates Sex Ed in Schools". www.christianpost.com. Retrieved 17 June 2017.