Tuesday 4 July 2023
The British HIV Association (BHIVA) is assessing levels of inclusivity in its organisation and practices, with the first stage being a review into Equity, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EEDI) published today. The review was conducted independently in 2022 by Purple Pen Research and Evaluation Consulting, with support from BHIVA’s Equity, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Review Advisory Group. It includes respondents from both the current BHIVA membership and non-members with an interest in HIV through work or personal experience.
The BHIVA EEDI Report 2023 is the first in depth inclusivity analysis since the association was established in 1995. Whilst BHIVA is the leading association for HIV healthcare professionals, and for those living with and affected by HIV in the UK, it recognises that it can only continue to lead, and to deliver the best outcomes in HIV treatment and research, if it receives contributions and support from the whole population it serves.
The report provides insights into how BHIVA is perceived from a broad EEDI perspective, looking at experiences within BHIVA, and highlighting areas where diversity and inclusion can be improved. Around 60% of the 280 stakeholders who responded were BHIVA members. Responses were supplemented with 15 in-depth interviews, and a socio-demographics survey of a further 35 respondents. In addition, online content in the BHIVA website and Twitter channel was also reviewed.
While the HIV sector is considered to be more diverse and liberal than other areas of medicine, some groups felt that they were not effectively represented in BHIVA’s leadership and committee structures. Although cis women, gay and bisexual men, people from Asian ethnic groups and people living with a recognised disability were represented, others were not. Prominent amongst these were non-white ethnicities, clinicians practicing outside of London and England, and non-senior healthcare professionals. These groups were not seen to be in high profile roles, or sufficiently included as conference speakers.
Despite inequalities in wider society, BHIVA was thought to be well placed to take the lead in improving diversity, especially in leadership roles. BHIVA is keen to address any reported lack of diversity and is committed to making positive changes. These will include feedback from racially minoritised communities, from those living or working outside of London, the HIV community and trainees, non-senior healthcare workers and those with less flexible working patterns.
The next step will be to establish an independent EEDI Advisory Group to take things forward. The Group will agree the process, outcome and impact measures as BHIVA moves forward to achieve EEDI goals. It will focus on concerns highlighted by the report, while not jeopardising existing intersectionality for women, GBMSM and other groups. Recommendations include offering EEDI training to BHIVA members in leadership positions and providing opportunities for prospective and current BHIVA members to meet with the BHIVA leadership, including Officers, the Executive Committee and members of subcommittees, working groups and panels. At the same time BHIVA will look at how these roles can be advertised to increase accessibility.
Professor Yvonne Gilleece, BHIVA Chair, said:
“While BHIVA may be more diverse than some other UK organisations we recognise that we can, and must, improve in order to serve our members and the population they support. For some this report could make uncomfortable reading but all agree that it is essential that we address the concerns it raises. We are in the process of establishing a working group to make the recommendations a reality and we will be updating members regularly on progress over the coming months.”