We’re working with a local theatre group to educate people in eastern DRC about HIV, a part of the world where this subject is sorely misunderstood.
Their play follows the story of a group of friends who transmit the virus between each other through unsafe sex and sharing a bloodied razor. (Pictured: Members of the theatre group – “Backstage”)
The story follows the characters receiving their positive diagnoses and shows their colourful reactions to this.
Like many people in this community, their first port of call is the traditional healer, but after his treatment makes one girl much worse, he flees and the group heads back to the hospital looking for help.
Here they are educated about HIV and taught to use condoms including a surprisingly realistic demonstration of a female condom. (Pictured: Fidel, outreach nurse)
The wacky characters cause great amusement, drawing big crowds and get the local people, young and old, engaged in the subject.
Our medical team then takes advantage of this to spread more important messages about HIV. (Pictured: Dr. Thierry)
At each show we have set up a number of HIV testing stations where people can undergo counselling and testing with our team from the hospital. (Pictured: Nurse Alice watching a bit of the play between performing tests.)
Around 100 people have tested at each event, taking a break from the entertainment to find out their status.
This collaboration between our medical team and the local theatre group is allowing us to effectively gain access to large numbers of people and is helping, little by little, to tackle the huge problem we have here of public misunderstanding of HIV.