HIV Prevention Project in Peace Corps

Because I am, as one friend put it, “[t]otally feather-pluckingly insane” I am applying to the Peace Corps. This is not a decision I am taking lightly nor is this something that will happen right away. I’ve spent hours at this point reading blogs from returned volunteers and researching the type of work volunteers do in other countries.

HIV/AIDS work means probably going to Africa, something I felt hesitant about at first. We have this notion of danger and chaos on the continent of Africa that is honestly no more deserved than many places in the States. (I live in West Oakland and get very defensive about my neighborhood.)

The thought of going to Africa made me nervous until I came across a USAIDS/Peace Corps HIV/AIDS campaign summary. Volunteers went to an area in Bamako (capital of Mali, country in West Africa) to raise awareness among truck drivers, considered a high-risk group because of contact with sex workers and constant mobility.

The campaign utilized images (picture book), familiar occurrences (pictures showed truckers in a situation that often leads to sex with a prostitute), and humor to start conversations about HIV/AIDS. I read through their report about this approach and the use of peer-based information to elicit further conversation and information dissemination.

This is exactly what I want to do. My biggest fear is landing a post in the middle of nowhere to teach only a few people about condoms. I would become so frustrated. Program development and implementation however? WANT.

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