Life Stories in Brochures on HIV/AIDS and Migration Issues (Armenia)

world vision logoOne of the expected results of the Cross Border Cooperation for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Impact Mitigation in Southern Caucasus and Russian Federation Project is developing and printing two kinds of brochures, which will be afterwards distributed among the project beneficiaries during outreach sessions, trainings, awareness raising activities and advocacy campaigns.
During the process of design the project team in Armenia agreed to include the real life stories of HIV affected individuals in the brochure contents, as nothing would impress the reader more than the life experiences of PLHIV after finding out their HIV status.
The first stage of the stated activity included mapping of the beneficiaries, specifically PLHIV. The Project team identified the labor migrants (migrating to Russian Federation and Ukraine) who got infected with HIV in destination countries. The stories of these individuals would be truly impressive for the migrants and their family members, for whom the brochures were being designed – the life stories of Migrants living with HIV would better depict the risks of HIV linked with migration to those willing to leave the home country.
One of the most important accomplishments of this activity is that it is the first time when the real life story of a person with negative HIV status is presented in the brochures on HIV/AIDS. The project team decided to present the story of a young female, who made up her mind to marry a man living with HIV. The narrative includes a young girl’s monologue, sharing her experience on how she learnt about her future husband’s status, her feelings about it and process of overcoming fears and discriminative attitude.
The given story may be a vital component of the brochure, aiming to change general population’s attitudes towards HIV/AIDS, since currently the Armenian society is reluctant to accept the fact that PLHIV may get married, have healthy children, work and live normal lives. Reading the heartwarming and touching story of a girl, who defeated her fears and discriminative attitude and eventually made up her mind to marry her beloved HIV positive man, will make people understand that HIV is not a death sentence and stigmatization is even more harmful and fatal than HIV itself.
The creative approach towards the brochure design will enable the project team to produce the materials, which will be not simply read-only, but make the readers deeply think and reflect on their attitudes towards the PLHIV and the rights of HIV positive individual to live his/her life in all its fullness.