A Human-Centered Approach to Prevention
State of the epidemic
Gains have been made against the HIV epidemic but these are becoming progressively smaller. There has been a modest 9% decline in the annual number of new HIV infections in Asia and the Pacific since 2010, and only 13% in Western and Central Africa during the same period. (UNAIDS Data 2019). While medical intervention and innovation have helped to bring mortality rates down, HIV incidence is still very high, signaling the need for accelerated prevention efforts. The AIDS epidemic has highlighted systemic problems within societies. HIV is harder to eradicate in places where communities and institutions exhibit inequality, stigma, violence, and discrimination.
The fight against HIV and AIDS will only be successful when we break down larger barriers that hinder accessibility to material. “The change we need requires strong collective efforts by both governments and communities. Success is being achieved where policies and programs focus on people, not diseases—policies and programs that are designed with communities and that respond to the way that people live their lives,” Gunilla Carlsson, UNAIDS Executive Director, UNAIDS Data 2019. The report also states that community level leaders have an important part to play in responding to HIV. Dismantling systems that block access to preventive care and exacerbate stigma must be addressed through community involvement. Local leaders and partners also help in ensuring that HIV prevention efforts are tailored to be relevant in their communities and ensure that its reach is extensive.
A revolutionary approach to prevention
TeachAids would never have achieved the success it has so quickly and effectively if not for its vision of delivering solutions that arose from deep understanding and personal involvement.
We created ‘Prevention Begins With Me’, interactive animated films that have been developed in 13 languages across 82 countries. The content for the films are based on rigorous scientific research and have been created in collaboration with local community leaders. The animations have been designed to enable partners to deliver HIV-related content to their communities in the most comfortable, yet effective manner. The use of euphemisms, cultural artifacts (such as clothing) and gender-specificity contributed significantly to learning outcomes.
In a previous post, we wrote of Amala Akkineni’s participation in critical transformative dialogue. Initiating a conversation between parents with opposing opinions changed the thinking of those who were hesitant to allow HIV-positive children to attend school. TeachAids also screened animations for military personnel and civilians in Arunachal Pradesh, India, thereby increasing awareness and creating space for discourse on related topics of counseling and drug abuse. Reimagining the nature and scope of education greatly impacted different groups and communities that tend to be left behind in the discussion on AIDS.
At TeachAids, ensuring the most number of people receive our content has been our number one mission. Given this, we operate under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license through Creative Commons, which means that anyone can distribute unchanged copies of the materials for noncommercial purposes, all at no cost. While generous donors have made sizable financial contributions, interdisciplinary experts in the fields of programming, cinema, hospitality, research, design, consulting, and many more have also invested invaluable amounts of time, energy and effort to create products that have transcended borders and societal barriers.