Peace Corps Volunteers in Morocco recently hosted an HIV/AIDS awareness session for 60 girl students at a local high school in Tarmikt. Aside from info presentations and an awesome jeopardy game led by Peace Corps Volunteer Sairah Jahangir, the attendees also had a Skype session with two female HIV/AIDS patients from Washington, D.C. 
Moroccan counterpart Fatiha Haouat translated questions written by students who wanted to know things like what it’s like being HIV-positive, how the women found out their status, and what their lives are like with the disease. For all of the students it was the first time they had ever met an actual person living with HIV, nonetheless had the opportunity to talk frankly about what living with the disease is like. Perhaps it was one of the first times HIV-positive women have ever had a platform in Morocco to speak publicly about their status and be unashamed. Michelle and Charlene, the two women interviewed, did an amazing job sharing their life stories and helped to change many perspectives on the stigma of the disease, especially as it affects women. 
The resounding message was that HIV is like any other disease and that they lead very normal lives. They advocated inclusion and support of women living with HIV, and also helped promote a safe sex message among students. It was a moving interview that called into question ideas of victimhood in Morocco, and how blaming the victim is a kind of injustice: Charlene became HIV-positive when she was raped at the age of 8, an incident that also left her pregnant. Charlene is a practicing Sunni Muslim who is now a resident at N Street Village, the organization that facilitated the interview. The Volunteers who led the session said it was incredible to see the faces of these two women projected on the schoolroom wall, to hear their actual voices speaking truth to stigma in a country where HIV patients cannot speak out for fear of persecution.

Peace Corps Volunteers in Morocco recently hosted an HIV/AIDS awareness session for 60 girl students at a local high school in Tarmikt. Aside from info presentations and an awesome jeopardy game led by Peace Corps Volunteer Sairah Jahangir, the attendees also had a Skype session with two female HIV/AIDS patients from Washington, D.C. 

Moroccan counterpart Fatiha Haouat translated questions written by students who wanted to know things like what it’s like being HIV-positive, how the women found out their status, and what their lives are like with the disease. For all of the students it was the first time they had ever met an actual person living with HIV, nonetheless had the opportunity to talk frankly about what living with the disease is like. Perhaps it was one of the first times HIV-positive women have ever had a platform in Morocco to speak publicly about their status and be unashamed. Michelle and Charlene, the two women interviewed, did an amazing job sharing their life stories and helped to change many perspectives on the stigma of the disease, especially as it affects women. 

The resounding message was that HIV is like any other disease and that they lead very normal lives. They advocated inclusion and support of women living with HIV, and also helped promote a safe sex message among students. It was a moving interview that called into question ideas of victimhood in Morocco, and how blaming the victim is a kind of injustice: Charlene became HIV-positive when she was raped at the age of 8, an incident that also left her pregnant. Charlene is a practicing Sunni Muslim who is now a resident at N Street Village, the organization that facilitated the interview. The Volunteers who led the session said it was incredible to see the faces of these two women projected on the schoolroom wall, to hear their actual voices speaking truth to stigma in a country where HIV patients cannot speak out for fear of persecution.

Morocco youth girls gender HIV AIDS AIDS-free generation N Street Village trigger warning: rape stigma Skype Washington DC global health health victim blaming HIV-positive HIV+ students school education

Positive and Negative Brotherhood

Two boys are walking home from school, one is HIV positive and the other HIV negative. Swaziland has a HIV prevalence between 26-33% percent depending on what study you are looking at. Everyone everywhere is living with or around it and yet it is still not openly discussed. These boys defy that norm though and that is partially due to the fact that they can’t remember a time when things were different. The positive boy helps his brother with his schoolwork while the negative boy helps his brother to take his ARVs. Through the simple act of brotherhood, these two boys are helping a community fight stigma and helping to solidify the idea that HIV is a part of daily life.

Peace Corps HIV/AIDS Volunteer Brandon Bobisink

Positive and Negative Brotherhood

Two boys are walking home from school, one is HIV positive and the other HIV negative. Swaziland has a HIV prevalence between 26-33% percent depending on what study you are looking at. Everyone everywhere is living with or around it and yet it is still not openly discussed. These boys defy that norm though and that is partially due to the fact that they can’t remember a time when things were different. The positive boy helps his brother with his schoolwork while the negative boy helps his brother to take his ARVs. Through the simple act of brotherhood, these two boys are helping a community fight stigma and helping to solidify the idea that HIV is a part of daily life.

Peace Corps HIV/AIDS Volunteer Brandon Bobisink

World AIDS Day youth HIV+ HIV HIV positive health stigma

These photos were taken on May 20, 2011 at the HIV/Aids candlelight memorial in Ukraine. Students of all ages participated in a candlelight walk, quizzes focused on prevention and stigma reduction, behavior pledges, and presented interpretive dance, song and readings. The evening ended with an outdoor disco in what is now an annual event.  

Peace Corps Community Development Volunteer Victoria Lamb 

(Source: peacecorps.gov)

Candlelight vigil Ukraine World AIDS Day eastern europe education health memorial stigma students youth

AIDS-Free Generation Photo Contest - First Place - Reducing/Eliminating Stigma and Discrimination 
Fatima’s Gift  by Peace Corps Volunteer Molly Green (Morocco, 2011–2013) 
A student in Morocco holds some of the ribbons that were distributed during a local music festival. Volunteers, a Moroccan HIV/AIDS organization, and local high school students conducted outreach and HIV testing. 

AIDS-Free Generation Photo Contest - First Place - Reducing/Eliminating Stigma and Discrimination 

Fatima’s Gift  by Peace Corps Volunteer Molly Green (Morocco, 2011–2013) 

A student in Morocco holds some of the ribbons that were distributed during a local music festival. Volunteers, a Moroccan HIV/AIDS organization, and local high school students conducted outreach and HIV testing. 

AIDS AIDS ribbon AIDS-free generation HIV HIV testing Morocco Peace Corps Volunteers education outreach photo photography students youth stigma discrimination North Africa