For many of us, sex is about sharing joyful moments with our partner. But in countries where people are being denied access to safe sex, every sexual encounter could present the risk of HIV being passed on.
Your gift could help someone to get the sexual healthcare and support they deserve and need, including contraception and sex education.
“We wanted to respond in places where nobody else was responding”
In conservative Mexico, men who have sex with men, transgender people, drug users, sex workers and people living with HIV face stigma and discrimination. Often they’ll be denied basic human rights like housing, healthcare, education and jobs. They’re also likely to face bullying, violence and crime.
The Vida Digna (Life with Dignity) project attempts to reduce stigma and discrimination towards these groups that are most at risk from HIV by educating the public and training local decision makers through a series of workshops and events. This International HIV/AIDS Alliance project, which is supported by ViiV Healthcare's Positive Action programme, also provides HIV-related services and sexual healthcare within safe and tolerant environments.
Juan Jacobo Hernandez, who works with the Vida Digna project, believes that by reaching out to marginalised groups that are particularly vulnerable to HIV they can “change the face of the epidemic” and help to ensure that no more people are infected – and stop HIV in its tracks.
Your gift could help projects like Vida Digna ensure that people all over the world get the dignity and respect they deserve – and the support they need to protect themselves and others.
An outreach worker distributes condoms and information to sex workers in Mexico.
The Vida Digna project offers support to people – regardless of their profession, gender, background, sexual identity or HIV status.
“In society, if you talk about sex you’ll be punished”
In Ethiopia, where more than half of the population is under the age of 24, conservative attitudes mean talking about sex is taboo. This means that a lot of young people are missing out on the education they need to help protect themselves from the risks of HIV. But, with your help, one enterprising group is looking to change that.
“It’s ok to jump in and enjoy life… but go and get information on how to enjoy it responsibly and carefully.”
- Club chairman, Habte
The Beza Anti-AIDS youth group in Addis Ababa, which uses music and dance to spread the word about HIV prevention, is supported by OSSA, a member organisation of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance. Their dance troupe Addis Beza, meaning ”to live for others”, regularly performs around the city, handing out factsheets and encouraging people to get tested for HIV.
Club chairman Habtegoregies Hailu, known as Habte, knows that most of his members, who are aged between 15 and 24, have had no sex education. He’s determined to help them navigate through their teenage years.
“We’re going to save ourselves first, and then become a shelter for others who need protection. This is the start, not the end for us – of helping protect young people from HIV.”
Troupe leader, 17-year-old Samson has witnessed the tragic outcome of a lack of proper sexual health education. When his friend Abel discovered that he was HIV positive, he was too scared to tell his family. He thought that they would reject him. Not knowing what to do and with no one to turn to, Abel killed himself.
“If you catch HIV it means that everyone will discriminate against you. Our families used to say that it's a punishment from God.”
Now Samson is determined to help other young people learn about sexual health so that situations like Abel’s become a thing of the past.
“Although I joined the club to dance, I also learned lots of things. Now I want to teach other people what I have learned.”
Your gift could help Samson, Habte and the other members of the Beza Anti-AIDS youth group, as well as members of hundreds of groups like it, to learn about sexual health and go on to spread the word about HIV and AIDS prevention.
Please give today and you could help ensure that young people the world over will know the risks and have the means to protect themselves from becoming infected.
In Addis Ababa an enterprising youth group uses dance to encourage the public to test for HIV.
Every three months, the dancers perform free of charge in popular public spots like Piazza. Over five days up to 1000 people will visit the mobile testing vans.