Feature story

Prevention is for life

25 August 2008

Belize: A programme coordinator with a
former gang member now actively involved
in HIV prevention and violence reduction
programmes. Credit: Carina Wint/UNFPA

HIV prevention is about saving lives. UNAIDS cosponsor, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), has published an advocacy booklet telling the personal stories of people and communities who are making a difference in many corners of the world. "Prevention is for Life" puts a human face to these prevention efforts by telling real stories and accompanied by stunning photography.

In recent years, we have seen a substantial increase in HIV prevention efforts, and they are producing results in a number of heavily affected countries. However, the AIDS epidemic is not over in any part of the world—for every two people accessing HIV treatment, five are newly infected. HIV requires a long term response that is grounded in evidence and human rights.

The booklet starts with the story of how HIV peer education projects in street gangs in Belize are empowering young people to take responsibility within the youth community. In another corner of the world, Yulia is a young HIV-positive mother in Moscow struggling with stigma as well as the health impact of HIV but in her story she is hopeful for a brighter future for the next generation.

Tajikistan: Two young women share a
tender moment at UNFPA-sponsored Guli
Surkh, an NGO located in Dusnabe. Credit:
Warrick Page/UNFPA/Panos Pictures

A story of a micro-credit project in Tajikistan illustrates the connection between poverty, gender inequality, and vulnerability to HIV. With access to the micro-credit, migrant wives can gain financial independence and support their families. Again, it underlines that HIV is a development and human rights issue.

In China, messaging and condom promotion campaigns have been launched reaching out to the country’s large migrant population. In Egypt, HIV prevention services are reaching people who risk exclusion as mobile clinics and voluntary counselling and testing services are delivered to people living in Cairo’s poorest neighbourhoods.

Although HIV information, counselling, services and commodities such as male and female condoms are not revolutionary prevention concepts, ensuring access to these prevention tools is a challenge. This booklet shows vividly that it’s a challenge worth taking on as access to HIV prevention is making a real difference in people’s lives.

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Prevention is for Life: Dispatches from the Field