With help from the MTV Staying Alive Foundation, Club Leadership Annviv is fighting HIV/AIDS in Haiti
“Jean Jean, a 19-year old Haitian guy got himself tested for HIV/AIDS for the first time in his life”, says Hermite Pierre from Club Leadership Annviv, an HIV-prevention project in Haiti funded by MTV Staying Alive. “He realised how important it is to know your status after attending our awareness session and watching a documentary about the disease.”
150,000 people in Haiti are living with HIV/AIDS. Although the number of deaths and new infections has decreased over the past decade, the disease is still spreading. Poverty, poor living conditions, inadequate sex education, stigma and discrimination are just a few of the driving forces behind the epidemic in Haiti.
Club Leadership Annviv focuses on creating community leaders. They provide young people with leadership training and HIV-education, so that they can become ambassadors in their neighbourhoods. Peer education is a powerful approach to HIV-prevention. “The best way to target youth is to use their language and be one of them”, says Yves Pierre Louis from the global health organisation PSI.
Once ambassadors are fully trained and confident about their leadership skills, they take to the streets to educate their peers through HIV awareness sessions. Through their work they eliminate fears and myths. “We know we are making a difference because young people start asking us for condoms,” says Hermite Pierre from Club Leadership Annviv.
Club Leadership Annviv managed to obtain at least 700 condoms from various institutions to hand out during their awareness sessions. Condoms are easily available in Haiti; they’re often free, if not very cheap. However, condom usage is still a problem. Only 43% of women and 47% of men reported using a condom the last time they had sexual intercourse. A mass media approach is also used by Club Leadership Annviv.
Young journalists are encouraged to report on HIV/AIDS-related stories in newspapers and magazines. Also, their ambassadors go on national radio to present a show called the “ABC of HIV/AIDS”. Radio allows young people to ask questions about the virus. During the radio show, the ambassadors encourage young people to get tested and provide them with information about free testing services.
The MTV Staying Alive project in Haiti has been very successful in reaching out to young people. In the first 6 months of 2013 alone, our ambassadors reached about 300,000 Haitians through their activities. The awareness sessions are very popular. Club Leadership Annviv is making a real difference in Haiti.
If you’d like to support Club Leadership Annviv or another project funded by the MTV Staying Alive Foundation you can find out more here.
For more on HIV/AIDS in Haiti, click here.
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