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Teenagers teach adults how to tolerate HIV-positive
20 March 2007 – A new youth informational and educational room on HIV/AIDS opened today in Vitsebsk on the premises of the regional hygiene, epidemiology and public health center.
It is the fourth room set up under the “Prevention and Treatment of HIV/AIDS in the Republic of Belarus” project implemented by UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Health under the financial support of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The rooms are aimed to give young people as a primary target an opportunity to receive professional and confidential advice on HIV/AIDS as well as to provide them with educational services, including the web-site for arranging virtual discussions on the problem.
Representatives of the local authorities, HIV/AIDS Department of the National Center for Hygiene, Epidemiology and Public Health, Belarusian Republican Youth Union, non-governmental organizations, mass media, and Russian Orthodox Church attended the opening ceremony.
Svetlana Brutskaya, coordinator of the “Prevention and Treatment of HIV/AIDS in the Republic of Belarus” project outlined the situation in the sphere of the fight against HIV/AIDS worldwide and in Belarus. She underlined a vital role of the information-educational room network in conducting prevention work among young people.
The representatives of the National Center for Hygiene, Epidemiology and Public Health shared the same view. “Since the first information-educational room opened in Minsk, it has been much more convenient to arrange prevention activities with young people and instructors”, an epidemiologist Valentina Bykova said. “The room provides a lot of opportunities in this regard: a conference hall, a video selection and a library with methodical materials (anybody can access them and make free copies). The room also provides premises for a volunteer club whose members prepare and distribute an information bulletin, update the web-site, and work on the “hot line”.
The ceremony ended with an unusual event. The teenagers conducted training for the adults. The training objective was to develop tolerance towards HIV-positive. A team of the participants made a close circle as a model of the society, which admitted or rejected some team members. All participants’ impressions provided a topic for a discussion. The adults admitted later on that the unusual “projecting of the situation” made them look at the problem from a new perspective. They also said that such trainings help them understand people in need.
Another youth informational and educational room on HIV/AIDS opened in Gomel recently. After the opening ceremony representatives of a Gomel regional association Social Projects staged an abstract of a so called “forum theatre” performance. The staging principle is based on the idea that a situation is played to a critical point, after which the audience can re-play it, make up a new end of the story or even perform it themselves. This time the performance focused on the issue of the relations between teenagers, parents, teachers facing the drugs challenge.
Information-educational rooms are expected to open in all regions of Belarus.
For additional information please refer to Maria Malinovskaya, PR specialist of the project “Prevention and Treatment of HIV/AIDS in the Republic of Belarus” at 270-73-51.
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