HIV and AIDS Prevention
Funding: World Vision Australia, World Vision Canada
Economic and social insecurity, unemployment, labour migration to the countries with higher rates of HIV combined with insufficient knowledge on HIV, its transmission modes and prevention contribute to the spread of HIV in Armenia. Statistics show an alarming tendency of growth in the number of HIV and AIDS cases, which makes the epidemic a real danger for such a small country.
Although Armenia is currently a low prevalence country, joint efforts of the Government as well as international and local organizations are vital in terms of avoiding the further spread of HIV epidemic in the country.
In Armenia, people living with HIV and AIDS face continuous stigma and discrimination, and do not disclose their HIV status due to fear of negative attitude of general public, which in return contributes to new HIV cases in the country. The reason is a lack of awareness of general public about HIV infection and related risks as well as fear over the virus that dominates in communities.
World Vision’s goal is to strengthen HIV response in communities, with focus on adolescents, youth, migrants, and their family members, through prevention and advocacy events implemented by communities under spiritual leadership of Armenia Churches.
World Vision Armenia’s HIV and AIDS Prevention Program is in line with the National HIV and AIDS Prevention Strategy. In this respect, World Vision supports the implementation of the nationally supported course on “HIV and AIDS Prevention and Safe Behavior Promotion” in a secondary school curriculum for 8-9 grades. For this purpose school teachers are also trained in HIV and AIDS with further follow up sessions in classes.
Besides, peer education sessions are being organized for 8-9 grade school children as well as children from special institutions (boarding schools, orphanages) supported by World Vision.
As a Christian organization, World Vision highly cooperates with the Church, building their capacity in HIV basics, and sensitizing and ”defrosting” church representatives towards people living with HIV and AIDS to fight the further spread of HIV in the country. Thus, regular meetings are being organized with the Church leaders from different dioceses of Armenian Apostolic Church to equip them with the knowledge and skills to recognize and address urgent needs, and act as development change agents.
World Vision initiated the participation of children in addressing HIV and AIDS related stigma and discrimination through theatre performances thus spreading basic knowledge about HIV, its transmission and prevention in a clear and interesting way. The performances were targeted mainly at rural communities where people have limited knowledge about the epidemic and its means of prevention.
Over 18, 000 copies of different public health materials on HIV and AIDS were printed and distributed among the various age groups.
World Vision Armenia, in collaboration with the National Center for AIDS Prevention, and UNAIDS developed poster campaigns with the participation of famous Armenian pop singers. The posters were distributed at schools, universities and dance clubs often visited by Armenian youth.
Four types of posters with Armenian celebrities Ani Christy, Andre, Hamlet Gevorgyan and Arsen Safaryan were developed with the presentation and Behaviour Change Communication messages.
Public Social Advertisement with the participation of another pop singer Hasmik Karapetyan on HIV related stigma and discrimination were developed and broadcast in the regions.
WV Armenia conducts primary prevention interventions among migrants and also among their family members to create an enabling environment for healthy behaviour by addressing the risk factors of migration, as number of worldwide practices proved this approach to be effective. It is also envisaged to partner with local organizations in host countries, where Armenians migrate to work.