28/11/2008

Breaking the silence

WAD 2008: Juan from Colombia is a DJ with a difference! He works at a local radio station with a group of peer educators. They involve other young people to record radio messages talking about HIV and AIDS. They also cover lots of other issues that are important to youth, like relationships, domestic violence and human rights. Here’s Juan’s story…Read more"Before I became a peer educator, the issue of HIV and AIDS was taboo. Two years ago I started taking part in the training sessions with the 30 other peer educators. Now I feel much more confident talking about HIV and AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections with my friends, neighbours and families”.

Because HIV and AIDS are often taboo subjects here, it’s a real challenge to get people to understand the truth about the infection. CAFOD works with young people, teachers and community leaders from the Nasa indigenous community of Jambal√≥ in southern Colombia. They’ve funded training and support for peer educators through a local organisation, the Association of Indigenous Councils of the Northern Cauca (ACIN).

Before the radio work and training of young people and teachers started 3 years ago, there was little awareness of the HIV and AIDS here. Many actually thought that it only affected people living in the cities! People were also terrified to talk about HIV because illegal armed groups sometimes persecute, expel and even kill those they think have the infection…

So it’s a huge challenge for Juan and the other young people. But together they’re breaking the silence!

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