…what is your interpretation of the message it is telling you?
A. KAWASAN KEMALANGAN: PANDU PERLAHAN
B. KAWASAN BERHANTU: PANDU LAJU-LAJU!
No, this posting is not about road signs. No, it's not about ghosts either. This posting is about getting the message across. I just put the sign there to get your attention in case you are bored with my HIV stories. Too bad, this posting is STILL somehow related to my voluntary work. You’d better get used to it…
In carrying out our voluntary work, it is important to get the right message across to our target groups.
To the PLWHAs and their families, we need to assure them that life is not over just by getting infected with HIV. We need to encourage them to carry on with their lives. We need to educate them on the importance of compliance when it comes to taking the antiretroviral drugs.
To the high risk groups, we need to educate them about the risks involved and how to avoid or minimise the chances of getting infected.
To the public, we need to create awareness amongst them about HIV – how it spreads, how it does not spread, and we also need to highlight to them about the stigma and discrimination faced by the PLWHAs.
However, it is not as easy as it sounds. Sometimes we try to tell them a particular message, but they interpret it differently. We emphasize on one issue, they prefer to concentrate on another issue.
We tell them there is no cure for AIDS, they say then there's no point taking the antiretroviral drugs because they're going die anyway. Duh! As though those without AIDS won't die...
We tell them about condoms and safe sex, they say we are encouraging people to have free sex.
We tell them most HIV cases involve injecting drug users and those who practice unprotected sex, they think all PLWHAs are bad people who deserve what they got. What about the innocent wives/husbands who got infected? The children?
We tell them HIV spreads through shared infected needles, they spread rumours saying that infected needles are purposely left on cinema seats so more people will get infected. Oi! HIV doesn't spread as easily as that lah!
I guess we will just have to try harder to put the right message across in creating public awareness on HIV/AIDS.
I remember the talk I gave to a group of students from a girls school last year. They seemed an enthusiastic lot. At the end of it, when I asked them what they learned from the talk, one girl sitting in the front row answered with a cheeky smile, "SAY NO TO BOYS!" (Ooops... did I overdo things?)
When I attended a Resource Persons Workshop organised by MAC some time last year, my target was to create awareness amongst women. But so far I have not had the opportunity to give any talks meant for women. To date, only schools have called us requesting for talks on HIV/AIDS. It was made compulsory for the students to attend so they were "forced" to listen. But for a public talk, you can't force people to come.
I have an acquaintance who has been trying to get the staff at her workplace to organise such a talk. But they were just not interested. To them probably it's just a waste of time because they feel HIV does not affect their lives.
So guess what? I resorted to blogging instead to create awareness in my own little informal way.
I shall not go into all the nitty gritty details of HIV facts in my blog. You may get bored (and include my blog under your list of the 10 things that bore you to tears!). If you do want to read more on HIV facts, there are many websites you can check out. For a start, why not find out about HIV/AIDS myths versus facts? Just click here.
As for the road sign above, did you answer A or B? It can be both you know...
First you think it's A... kawasan kemalangan... pandu perlahan...
You slow down, and suddenly you remember, if it is kawasan kemalangan, many people may have died here...
Shriek!! It can also be kawasan berhantu!
Ooops, looks like I am also misinterpreting messages...