Alliance linking organisation, Instituto para el Desarrollo Humano (IDH), launched the 13th annual Exposida, which will raise awareness of HIV and AIDS among Cochabamba’s general population.
There are an estimated 10,000 people living with HIV in Bolivia, with 19% of cases estimated to be in Cochabamba, Bolivia’s third largest city. Rates are highest among women and young people between 15 and 29 years of age.
Over 25,000 students are expected to visit over the 10 days. The expo will address the challenges of addressing sexuality and HIV within families. It engages its visitors with art exhibitions, theatre, competitions, workshops, dance, poetry and more. Its aim is to help break taboos that can prevent sexuality and HIV being discussed within families, and also tackles the issue of migration.
The director of IDH, Edgar Valdez, explains that in many families, migration has led adolescents to feel alone and miss out on the sense of belonging to a family. He believes that in the absence of their parents, children still have cousins, siblings and even friends with whom they can create an alternative family. IDH is presenting a range of families, displaying messages and photographs of families of different origins, sizes, cultures and customs.
“We want them to be able to talk about sexuality and HIV within a family environment and to see the issues that come up in sexual relations and the transmission of HIV”.
Edgar warns that the lack of information that adolescents receive from their parents means that they have limited guidance on sexuality and HIV. He therefore invites teachers, students and parents to attend the exposition so as to build a link between them: “Education starts at home and teachers complement it”.
Students can take part in competitions to win cash prizes and sports equipment for their schools with their knowledge of sexuality, HIV and AIDS.
To complement the expo’s theme, IDH will be launching ‘Portraits’ on World AIDS Day later this year (1 Dec 2010), a film about the family which will launched in Cochabamba, Santa Cruz and La Paz as well as being aired on some national TV channels.
migration has led adolescents to feel alone and miss out on the sense of family