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More than 21 million people have died from it, more than 36 million people have it, and more than 5 million people contract it each year. Youth Topics investigates the human disaster we cant ignore, no matter how sensitive the subject.
Whats what HIV stands for Human Immuno-deficiency Virus. Its a virus that damages the bodys immune system. The immune system fights off illness, and if its severely weakened the body can catch all sorts of serious, possibly fatal, diseases. AIDS refers to this collection of different diseases, and stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

Face the facts

AIM To find out more about

Brain ball
AIM To explore perceptions of HIV/AIDS Get the group into a circle and ask them to throw a ball randomly to one another. Each time one of them catches the ball ask them to shout out a word that comes into their mind when they think of AIDS. No repetition or hesitation allowed! DISCUSS Why did you call out the words you did? What perception do you have of HIV/AIDS? Do you think these are accurate, fair, or supportive?

Dilemma 1. My mum is HIV positive. Im scared to tell my friends but I need to talk! 2. I cant watch my kids starve. I have no other option so I work as a prostitute. Im worried about AIDS. Ive been told to use condoms but theyre expensive and customers wont use them. What should I do? 3. My boyfriend wants us to sleep together. I love him but Im not sure. He might leave me if I say no, but Im scared of AIDS and he doesnt use condoms. 4. My fiance comes from a country where 25 per cent of people are HIV positive. Should I ask her to be tested? Should I marry her if shes positive? Real Life Carolina, 21, is training to be a community health monitor for HIV/AIDS in Argentina. Between us young people things are more open and we do talk about sex and relationships, but the information we have is often wrong. Its important that I learn the right information about these things so that I can pass it on to others. DISCUSS How do you feel when you think about these situations? Was it hard to come up with good advice? Do you know enough about HIV/AIDS to give good advice?

1. What does HIV attack? a) the nervous system b) the immune system c) computer systems 2. How many people in the world are HIV positive? a) 36 thousand b) 36 million c) 36 billion 3. What percentage of HIV positive people live in poor countries? a)55% b)75% c) 95% 4. Why are poor people more at risk of HIV/AIDS? a)lack of information b) poor health care c) lack of access to protection
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Problem page
AIM To talk about the dilemmas people face

Divide the group into two and give each group two of the dilemmas listed below. Then ask each group to read a dilemma to the other group, who must discuss it and provide advice. The group with the dilemma decide whether to accept or ignore the advice. Things to think about: Is this person at risk? Who could help?

Jan Smith/CAFOD Carolina is a community health monitor for HIV/AIDS in Argentina

5. You are a 15-year-old in Botswana. What is the likelihood that you will die of AIDS? a) 1 in 10 b) 5 in 10 c) 9 in 10
Sources: United Nations programme on HIV/AIDS, Christian Aid

See you in court

AIM To explore the value of life and profit An African government wants to import cheap copies of AIDS treatment drugs. The big drug companies want to stop this copies of drugs are illegal, like pirate CDs. Youre off to court to fight it out Divide the group into two: one representing the government, the other the drugs company. Give each group their scenario and some time to prepare their argument. The two groups then debate the issues with each other and vote on which side should win. Government Twenty per cent of the population is HIV positive. Its devastating families and the economy. Treatment drugs slow down the virus and could help save lives and the economy. Official treatment drugs cost 10,000 per patient per year. You can buy copies for 500. Lives are more important than profits for drug companies! Pharmaceutical company Researching new drugs costs billions. If other firms steal your ideas and make cheap copies youll make a loss. There are lots of necessary drugs that poor countries cant afford allow copies once and you set a precedent. DISCUSS Who thinks who should win? Why? Read the real life drama. DISCUSS At 500 per person, HIV/AIDS treatment drugs are still expensive. If you were an African doctor with 500 for HIV/AIDS work, would you: buy drugs to treat one person who is living with HIV/AIDS? provide home care for 200 people who are living with HIV/AIDS? raise awareness to prevent people contracting HIV? Real life drama In 1998, 39 drug companies launched a lawsuit to stop the South African government importing cheap HIV/AIDS drugs from India. The case shocked people worldwide and a campaign to stop the lawsuit gathered pace. In April 2001, thanks to this campaign, the companies dropped their lawsuit. A fantastic victory for people living with HIV/AIDS But it doesnt solve the HIV/AIDS crisis.
Christian Aid/Nigel Varndell

6. How many South African teachers are thought to be HIV positive? a) 700 b) 7000 c) 70,000 7. What percentage of people contracting HIV today is aged 15-24? a) 25% b) 50% c) 75% Answers 1. b, 2. b, 3. b, 4. all of them, 5. c, 6. c, 7. b

Vicious virus circle

AIM To investigate the links between poverty

Below are 12 stages in a cycle that results in people dying of AIDS-related illnesses in the Third World. Copy them onto post-it notes and stick one onto the back of each person in the group. Then get the group to organise themselves into a circle with all of the stages in the right order (as shown below). For groups of less than 12, write two statements onto some of the post-it notes to get the right number. The government struggles to pay international debts Government cut-backs in health and education Not enough information campaigns about HIV People dont learn how to protect themselves People contract HIV having unprotected sex Hospitals cant afford treatments that slow the disease People develop AIDS Poor living conditions mean people quickly contract tuberculosis Local hospitals cant afford tuberculosis medicines People die Fewer workers pay tax or contribute money to the economy The government has less money DISCUSS How many stages involved moral decisions? How many involved political/economic factors? What did these people die of AIDS, immorality, ignorance, poverty?

3C performing arts school use song and dance to spread the message about HIV/AIDS, Jamaica

CAFOD, Christian Aid and SCIAF believe that poverty has fuelled the HIV/AIDS crisis, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. We believe that improving health-care services, education, aid and tackling the causes of poverty are essential, as well as convincing pharmaceutical companies that human life is more important than profit. CAFOD, Romero Close, Stockwell Road, London SW9 9TY Christian Aid, PO Box 100, London SE1 7RT SCIAF, 19 Park Circus, Glasgow G3 6BE