Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Word HIV/AIDS Day - Q & A

Today was a day to build awareness about HIV/AIDS and commemorate those who have died from complications of this disease. Approximately 16% of Mozambicans are infected with HIV. Here in the south of the country, that figure is closer to 27% (and those are conservative figures!).

Living in a community where more than one in four people around you has HIV is a real wake-up call. As you can imagine, HIV/AIDS has been a major theme of our Peace Corps training. It's not just about educating people on how the disease is spread, but also about eliminating the stigmas surrounding the disease and helping HIV positive people and their loved ones live fulfilling lives.

The education I received in the United States left me with all kinds of misconceptions and paranoia relating to HIV/AIDS. I still have more to learn, but I definitely understand this disease and its effects much better than I did two months ago.

I'd like open the floor to questions from readers of this blog about any topic related to HIV/AIDS (in general or specifically relating to Mozambique). If you don't have a Blogger account you can e-mail me. I have a lot of HIV/AIDS education resources at my disposal and I will do my best to answer your questions.

Some examples to get you started...

* Why are there so many more cases of HIV in Subsaharan Africa than elsewhere?
* Can I get HIV from shaking hands with a sweaty person?
* What does a woman do if she's pregnant and HIV positive?
* How much access do Mozambicans have to HIV testing, counselling, condoms, ARV's and other resources?
* What are some common myths surrounding HIV/AIDS in Mozambique?
* Why haven't we found a cure for HIV yet?
* What are some challenges an HIV positive person may face in Mozambique?
* Is it safe for Peace Corps Volunteers to work in a country where HIV is so prevalent?

Hopefully these questions inspired other ones. I'd like to hear them!

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