Category Archives: HIV/AIDS

OBR in Pictures

Click on an image to view slide show.

-Megara Tegal

Meg is a member of the steering committee of Beyond Borders. She’s a journalist and a world class klutz. She blogs here. Her opinions are her own.

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Performing Virus

Member of the audience changing a scene in the play

No; not like a virus circus that can only be viewed through an electron microscope. This was a notch better. Our Forum Theatre group staged a play about HIV AIDS- how the disease is contracted, how to protect yourself and wrong notions about the disease.

It was back on 10 December at the Royal Skills Centre Auditorium. It went pretty well with several interventions during each scene, questions raised, answers delivered and a happier not-so-oppressed character in the end.

A big thank you out to all of you who attended the performance! Keep watch of the blog; we’ll be posting teaser trailers of the next Forum Theatre performance- ‘Bohemian Pursuits’ which we’ll be performing for the Galle Literary Festival. Here’s hoping we see you there!

Virus

The good news– Sri Lanka is a ‘low prevalent country’ for HIV AIDS.

The bad news– With the country’s precipitant development, the risk of HIV AIDS spreading wildly is a burning problem.

What’s worse- The youth are highly vulnerable to contraction of the virus due to the “increase in migration internally, externally and internationally due to economic, leisure, [and] displacement”- according to the Family Planning Association.

So ask yourself- do you know all there is to know about HIV AIDS? Did you know that the virus can be contracted due to momentary carelessness?

One of the best methods of prevention is to keep yourself informed and Beyond Borders is inviting you to a Forum Theatre production on HIV AIDS. Bring your friends too and watch the enthralling interactive play and discussion.

The event is for free. All you need to do is register here- online form.

‘Who turned the lights off?’

Beyond Borders is doing another Forum Theatre for the Rotaract District 3220 ‘HIV & YOUth’ campaign (which targeted the urban and suburban youth through workshops, movie screenings and the forum theatre performances from October to December this year) on Friday, December 10th at 6.30pm at Punchi Theatre.

The forum theatre for this campaign is called ‘Who turned the lights off?’ This Forum Theater tackles the subjects in relation to the topics discussed at the ‘HIV & YOUth’ campaign workshops and movie screenings. It touches on topics such as information needs and level of awareness about HIV and Sexual Reproductive Health amongst youth, misconceptions, stigma and discrimination in relation to HIV. It takes you through the decisions, dilemmas and downfalls of our protagonist Ishanka, a Young girl who is challenged and disgraced by her peers, family and the society after being found HIV+. It will be an evening of exciting infotainment and learning.

The Forum Theatre which is also the closing ceremony for the ‘HIV & YOUth’ campaign and is open for all Youth, Activists or anyone who is interested in such topics/issues.

Entrance is on invitation only. For invitations for the FT on the 10th December please write to us at hivandyouth@gmail.com or call us on 077-1952257.

Our TOT on Citizenship Education

working on something

working on something

Went well. Most of the guys who applied were a bit older than we expected, but we had diverse range of  organizations and backgrounds were represented. Hopefully some of these guys would start their own initiatives of civic education in their communities. 

What Beyond Borders hopes to achieve is to create a bunch of people competent enough to run workshops with young people so that they get exposed to and start thinking about citizenship issues, something which doesn’t happen with the official education system in Sri Lanka.

Soon, we will be publishing a toolkit of sorts containing activities, games and sessions on citizenship issues.  The toolkit  can be utlizied by anyone with a passion and dedication for civic issues to design and run training sessions, workshops, etc. for young people. Watch this space for more. The project is supported by Oxfam Australia through OIYP.

Event Pictures on Flickr.

“HIV doesn’t kill people, but stigma does” – based on a true story

Yes, that’s right. We being in the 21st centenary have still not been able to tackle the most integral part of HIV and AIDS and mind you that this is some thing people them selves need to sort out for the betterment of the man kind. Most importantly if we don’t do this today this will never happen and thus help us to eliminate stigma completely from this earth. Below is a real story that happened in Sri Lanka in year 2000, which even caught the attention of lot of non governmental, governmental and media organizations during that time.

 

princeyA stay at home wife who had never held a job, Princey had no idea what HIV or AIDS was. Her husband a hotel worker had gone abroad to work in Germany in 1994. It was only after his return in 2000 that he fell seriously sick and a hospital test revealed he had AIDS.

 

Princey’s husband contracted HIV through unprotected sex in Germany where he was working for six years. Princey being a house wife and having two children, who were schooling, was a faithful wife to his husband. After the husbands return, he suddenly felt sick and was admitted to the hospital, the doctors were desperate and could not figure out what was wrong with him and at that moment the only test, which was left was the HIV blood test. The doctors analyzed his blood of course after their consent.

 

Princey and her two kids were stunned suddenly after the day the blood samples were taken for the HIV test. It was a completely different feeling and treatment. Princey was called to the doctor’s office to be briefed on the report. When she went there it was strange for her as she knew nothing about the report and she was being insulted, harassed by the minor staff of the hospital and finally the doctor came in and was told that her husband was affected by AIDS.

 

“When attention focused on my husband, he did not have any privacy or confidential rights. There was a breach of confidentiality by the minor employees of the hospital when we went to seek health care. Quite unnecessarily we had to face attacks and innumerable difficulties. This was hard and I suffered enough overcoming these hurdles. I have had to face every difficulty that life has to offer. So there is nothing new that can happen to me now. I have overcome these barriers and come a long way in life with patience and will power. I am happy about this. In future if there is anything I can do, I hope to do it well” said Princey answering a question of what the trouble she was facing after her husband was diagnosed as an AIDS patient.

 

 

Read the complete article here

Nooranie is the General Secretary of Beyond Borders and blogs at “the ultimate change” The views expressed here are that of the author, not of Beyond Borders.

Making Sex-Ed Sexy

“Because sex education is rarely sexy,
And Erotica is rarely safe.
Putting the sexy back into safer sex.”

Ever heard of the Pleasure Project? One of the few organizations working on the “sexy” aspect of safer sex. I had the pleasure of being at one of their workshops last August, during the 8th ICAAP.

Those of us who actually did get sex ed in school, got the basic biology-only kind of abstinence focused sex education. This trend continues today, as a result of the Bush administration’s Global Gag Rule (also known as the Mexico City Policy), completely cut off funding to progressive organizations who were working on safe abortion. As most of these organizations like IPPF and Marie Stopes had a large stake in the comprehensive sex ed arena, this effectively meant that the comprehensive sex ed aspect which spoke about issues such as contraception also suffered.

But the industry seems to be going strong in some areas, and the others seem to be recovering well. Modern Loving, a video done in conjunction with the Pleasure Project, is a perfect example of seamlessly combining pleasure with safer sex. The MTV Staying Alive campaign also has a collection of interesting public service media which has been used to promote safer sex. But this advert for Trust Condoms remains my all time favourite.

If you’re interested, try out MTV ME or UNICEF’s What Would You Do? interactive role playing games.

Din is a self proclaimed Photographer, Blogger, Freelance Journalist, Copywriter, Event Manager, Translator, Designer, Social Worker, Poet and BB-ite. He blogs at http://pinkboxinggloves.wordpress.com. He is also sexy, single and available.

When will the teachers learn?

There is a strong nexus between HIV/AIDS and poverty, especially in the most poverty-stricken areas in Africa.  The World Bank Blog, Ending Poverty in South Asia exploring whether HIV could have similar negative effects in the development of South Asia  relates an interesting story from Sri Lanka,

Young people, one of the more vulnerable groups in society, are not getting enough (or any) education about AIDS.  One Sri Lankan at the conference [ICAAP8] said his high-school biology teacher, noting that chapter 17 of the textbook was about sexuality, said that only chapters 1-16 would be on the exam.   [link]

This is quite common for Sri Lankan teachers, the reasons are a combination of societal taboo about sex and their own weak understanding of sexuality. Someone should teach the teachers!

Sex Ed. can contain HIV/AIDS

Says Nimal Siripala de Silva, the Minister of Health care and Nutrition. The daily mirror reports ..

Sex education is absolutely necessary if Sri Lanka is to maintain its present low prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS and to contain the spread of this dreaded disease, [..]

Addressing a function held at Battaramulla to mark the World AIDS Day, Minister de Silva said Sri Lanka should not remain complacent about its achievements in the healthcare sector which is praised as one of the best healthcare providers in the region. “The sex education, on HIV/AIDS in particular in the school curriculum is sine qua non under the present context of human behaviour. Children are exposed to many challenges when they travel, study or participate in day to day activities and interact with others. The health ministry has held discussions with Education Minister, Susil Premjayantha in connection with introducing sex education into the school curriculum and the response has been positive,” Mr. de Silva said. [link]

Not only the health authorities but the people themselves must always be vigilant to prevent any increase in the incidence of HIV/AIDS in the country as the disease could develop into epidemic proportions at any time if we become complacent, he stressed.

We couldnt agree more. We are even more delighted that the education ministry has given a “positive response” on the matter. An encouraging development,  since from recently the Education ministry have sent out a circular to prohibiting any external entities from conducting Sex. Ed programs in Schools without explicit ministry approval.

The critical question will be what kind of Sex ed. we are talking about? hopefully it wont be Abstenence-only, in which case it would be useless.

A Workshop on Sexuality and HIV/AIDS

A workshop on sexuality and HIV/AIDS jointly organized by Beyond Borders, Rotaract club of Colombo-regent with the support of the Student Activity Club of APIIT (Asia Pacific Institute of Technology) was held at APIIT premises on the 29th of September 2007. The workshop saw the participation of young people from schools in and around Colombo. [Pictures]