December 1st is World AIDS Day. Here is how it was observed in Ascope.
Thursday, November 22nd- 25 quick tests were given to junior and senior high school students to test for HIV.
Tuesday, November 27th- Town parade took place observing World AIDS Day.
Wednesday, November 28th- An attempt was made for a class for parents of teens to learn about HIV/ AIDS and how to communicate with their teen children about this topic + sex, teen stuff, etc. Unfortunately, only 4 mothers showed up. It turned out being pretty cool though, because we had sort of a round table discussion between the mothers, 3 teen health promoters, and a nurse who came to teach the mothers with me. Even though it wasn't what we had in mind, it was a positive experience.
Thursday, November 29th- A door-to-door campaign took place between the teen health promoters, the adult volunteer health promoters who work with the municipality, and myself. I was so proud of the teen girls that day. They would walk up to anyone and talk to them about STDs, HIV/ AIDS, condoms, etc. without showing the slightest sign of embarrassment. They argued with stubborn old men about the difference between HIV and AIDS and talked to a group of a dozen or so male cab drivers who even intimidated me. Neat. We handed out red ribbons with informative fliers and made pretty good ground between the dozen or so of us in the hour that we had. Definitely not a waste of time.
Friday, November 30th- We tried to have a movie night, and it worked, but wasn't what I would call awesome. It eventually worked out and we watched a movie (though not one with any message or relation to the theme at hand) in the theater with a small showing of about 25 teenagers. We stopped the movie about 20 minutes in for one of the teen health promoters to talk to those in attendance about HIV/AIDS and do a little informative group quiz with them.
Monday, December 3rd- Presentation for sophomore, junior, and senior students given by the local psychologist, one of Ascope's nurses, and a man from Trujillo living with HIV. An interesting and hopefully eye-opening event for the students. It was great to have participation from the health post, the municipality's volunteer health promoters, and the school. This was a good one.
Friday, December 7th- A nurse from the private clinic with the help of some of the science classes of the high school had an informative exhibit in the Plaza de Armas which included a competition among students to create bulletin boards explaining HIV/ AIDS and concluded with a human ribbon photo op. I didn't have anything to do with this one other than slight support during the event. I work with these teenagers. I know how it goes tying to manage them solo. No bueno. I saw what was happening and popped over to help the nurse. Which I was glad to do because I was starting to get bored waiting for someone from Trujillo to come present at the high school with me who never ended up showing up. But I'm glad I popped over, because this was fun and I like that nurse. I give her a lot of credit for doing stuff like this all by herself.
All of these activities were great because I didn't do any of the important stuff. I got everything going a few weeks in advance and started the process, which is usually the hardest part. Then I helped organize people/ plans, came up with the schedule for the week along with the principal and a teacher, got permissions, coordinated, wrote some documents to request stuff, and generally did the boring behind the scenes stuff. But I had the help of 2 teachers, the principal, a bunch of nurses, and the volunteer health promoters on that stuff. Plus, all of the presentations and interactions were taken care of by the teen health promoters and nurses. So really, anything that was done this year can be repeated next year. Awesome :) Overall, it was a great week and I'm really proud of the teen health promoters for all of the work they put into it.