Saturday, January 21, 2012

Voices from the Youth

I was watching a short documentary (28 minutes) on young people living with HIV. The short film captures the take of young people living with HIV. It's titled "Love, Life & HIV."(http://bit.ly/lovelifehiv)
It was recorded, produced and edited by young people from the Dominican Republic, India, Mexico, South Africa and Swaziland. They talk of HIV related stigma and discrimination, accessing health services, having sex and being in a relationship, starting a family, importance of support groups and their involvement in HIV response.
I was shocked to learn that over 40% of new HIV transmissions each year are among young people under the age of 25. In one of the interviews a guy said that when his friend was diagnosed with the virus, his family bought him stuff that came in the color red, so anyone who saw any red item did not touch it. It was a huge blow for me looking at how even those whom we love can at times out of ignorance and fear cast us out. Another guy said he had gone as far as climbing a bridge and ready to dive into a raging river because no one wanted him around them. Some of the HIV related services that young people do need include ; psychosocial support, comprehensive sexuality eduaction, youth friendly services at clinics, positive prevention, family planning, HIV treatment and care...and employment. A young lady said that she could not be hired because she was HIV positive and this affected her so much so that she wondered what use her degree would be.
It also made me think of how much we are biased and how at times we do not want to associate with anyone who is HIV positive. One of the interviewees asked a good question, 'if it were you, what would you do?" and that just makes me wonder why we know of the Golden rule (do unto others as you expect them to do unto you) yet we do not live by it. I know at this point you must be thinking, rules are made to be broken, but this rule was not made, it was stated. It was stated after so many years of experiencing that what goes around does come around. It was a realization of what harmonious living is all about, so if it were you what would you do?
First, seek information-get your facts about HIV right. Second, interact with anyone who is HIV positive, know there side of the story and then think about it. Third,it might take you a while to get the facts straight but that does not mean that you ought to give up, I will leave you with one of my fave quotes from one of the interviewees. He said that he took AIDS and turned it into something meaningful "Am I Doing Something?"
 

 
 Ask yourself that as you check out these awesome resources:
http://www.ippfwhr.org/en/allonecurriculum_en
http://bit.ly/criminalization
http://bit.ly/girlsdecideHIV