Youth driving force behind AIDS campaign

Thousands of young people from Denpasar and other places across Bali are set to launch an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign coinciding with World AIDS Day, which falls on Dec. 1. The campaign will launch at Puputan Badung Park in downtown Denpasar on Sunday. At the launch, the youth group Kita Sayang Remaja (Kisara) will hold a mass flash mob titled “Dance for Life” involving hundreds of students from Denpasar. The group has issued an open invitation to anyone wanting to join the flash mob.

Buda Pratama, a high school student from Sukawati village in Gianyar regency, had already registered with Kisara as an organizing committee member. “I feel so energized and enthusiastic to participate in the flash mob and other campaign activities,” Pratama said, adding that he had asked his friends to join in. Another youth organization called Bali Against AIDS will organize a poster contest, acoustic music concert and will establish a teen corner where young people can obtain information related to HIV/AIDS.

Students from Udayana University’s Medical School will also hold a series of activities such as a public discussion, free condom distribution and a memorial event to remember those who have died from AIDS. Yuni Ambara, a staffer at the Bali AIDS Prevention Commission (KPAD), said that the distribution of condoms was symbolically important to encourage people to have safe sex. KPAD plans to also distribute red ribbons and red roses as symbols of caring, awareness and solidarity.

KPAD will work closely with other institutions such as Warmadewa University’s Medical School and Mahasaraswati University’s Medical School and Midwife Academy. Meanwhile, KPAD Denpasar is set to organize organize voluntary counseling and testing in several shopping malls, supermarkets and other public places. The Bali Health Office estimates there are 8,141 people living with HIV/AIDS on the island, many of them aged between 15 and 24 years old. The data, however, might not be too accurate as many cases go unreported for fear of social stigmatization. The office has made a real estimation of around 26,000 people with HIV/AIDS across Bali.

source : bali daily

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