Published on The Hunger Project – Australia website
According to UNAIDS, more than 36 million people in the world are living with HIV/AIDS. It is estimated that half of those people are unaware of their HIV status.
In order to stop the spread of the disease, reduce the incidence of related deaths and remove stigma, it is essential that effective educational programs are widely accessible.
In Africa, our Epicentre programs trained over 91,000 people in 2016 to understand HIV/AIDS and gender inequality issues. Through this training, village leaders like Alesia from Ghana (pictured), gain the knowledge and confidence required to reach out to people in their communities, encouraging them to seek help in the form of testing and treatment.
Alesia, and her fellow ‘HIV Animators’, run workshops within their communities where they educate people about the causes and effects of the disease. They explain how gender inequalities fuel HIV infection rates and how HIV/AIDS can not only be treated but also prevented. ‘HIV Animators’ empower people with the understanding that they can put an end to the spread of the disease within their own communities.
The UN General Assembly holds a vision of moving toward ‘zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS related deaths’. By providing education, prevention strategies and treatment in highly affected communities we move closer to this vision. We see attitudes toward the disease change, stigma dissolve and a decrease in newly infected people.