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History of the Positive Allies Charter Mark

In 2015, sociologist Drew Dalton, at the University of Sunderland, completed the research project ‘Silent Scream? The Life Histories of People Living with HIV in the North East of England.’ This was part of a ‘snapshot’ project to gauge what it is like to live with HIV in the United Kingdom.

Drew Dalton

Key findings from this project highlighted that the following practices be put into place:

  • training for healthcare and mental health professionals on HIV awareness;
  • an HIV ‘Awareness Certificate’ for employers

“Whilst the Equalities Act (2010) added further protections to those living with HIV, many employers are unaware that HIV is included within this legislation. Many respondents felt fearful of telling employers their status (even though they do not have to reveal it) and they also felt uncomfortable with revealing reasons why they need time off work or require reasonable time adjustments for hospital and doctor’s appointments.  The climate within some workforces discourages many respondents from revealing their status and thus challenging the invisibility of HIV” (Dalton, 2015: 8-9).

Student talking to a lecturer

Through further development, the ‘HIV Awareness Certificate’ has become the ‘Positive Allies Charter Mark.’ This charter mark is available to all organisations within the United Kingdom, whether they have paid staff or volunteers, or both. Positive Allies is open to applications from all organisations, large or small, and it covers all employment sectors.


Dalton, A. (2015) The Life Histories of People Living with HIV in the North East of England. Newcastle: Body Positive North East/National Lottery Awards for All.

National AIDS Trust. (2014) HIV Public Knowledge and Attitudes, 2014.

Available at (online):

  1. (2012) Measuring HIV Stigma and Discrimination, 2012.

Available at (online):

The People Living with HIV Stigma Survey UK. (2015) National Report 2015/16.

Available at (online):

Thanks and acknowledgements:

Thanks to Jordan Williams, a former graduate of the University of Sunderland, for designing the logo and artwork for the Positive Allies Charter Mark.