Monday, April 7, 2008

Learning how to manage HIV/AIDS

Selling AIDS ribbonsIt’s my heartfelt appreciation to (OFID) The Opec Fund For International Development and The Foundation for Professional Development (FPD) for their dual support and sponsorship ofthe HIV/AIDS workshops in Nairobi, Meru and Eldoret. The two bodies have worked tirelessly in support of various social and educational workshops around the globe zero in on HIV/AIDS pandemic.

From 17 to 19 March 2008 all roads led to Sirikwa Hotel in Eldoret for the above forum. Through the Family Health Options Kenya (FHOP) the above mentioned bodies managed to reach quite a substantial number of youth and middle aged people from other organizations to attend the workshop. The opening remark from the facilitator that got most of the young people off balance was about the rate of infection among the middle aged people. He reiterated that the global figure of People Living with HIV stands at 46 millions and if there is no determination towards behaviour change, especially amongst the youth, then the figures are likely to sky rocket.

The mood of the workshop became gloomy once the theory surrounding the origin of HIV was brought to the fore. It was unpalatable for some youth to learn that the two viruses, HIV1 and HIV2 are traced from the African soil. It was alleged that HIV1 has its roots from chimpanzees in Central Africa and HIV2 was found in Sooty Mangabey Monkey in Western Africa. It sounded more humorous for the young people when they heard that at some point while skinning the monkeys, blood crossed over to the humans through open wounds! After an exhaustive discussion it was apparent that no one is pretty sure about the origin of HIV in human beings.
From the group exercises, it emerged that most people living with the virus had defaulted taking drugs due to various reasons, chief among them poverty. It was indicated that some drugs from the First Line Drugs (introductory drugs within the antiretroviral therapy) were too strong and could not be taken without food. Therefore, those families that could not afford the food taken along with drugs, had no option other than avoid the treatment altogether. This scenario has cost lives, though the majority have also benefited heavily from the food supplies from Ampath in Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital.

Youth were also encouraged to go for VCT (voluntary counseling and testing). This would enable them to know their status and if necessary change their behaviour and live their life to the full. The three day workshop closed with practical skills on counselling. Participants were made to understand the approaches they need to develop before they offer counselling services to their clients. At the end of it all a vote of thanks was given to the facilitator, the organizers and the participants for the successful workshop.

by Simon Mudi
Youth Leader Eldoret

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The issue of HIV Aids is of great concern to all human beings living in this dispensation. Our youth must receive all information and training in how to keep safe. such workshops are a key to access to such information. Kudos to all the sponsors and facilitators!