HIV/STD Prevention Project
This past Tuesday I was able to complete a project which I have been thinking about and working on for quite some time now. The idea for this project arose last summer while hanging out with my friends from the Roma community in town.
Throughout the course of the summer I found that most of the community is sexually active but that there is little to no sexual education programs in place. After doing some research I found that although although not nearly as high as other ethnic groups, there is a higher than normal risk of HIV within the Roma community.
Thanks to the help of Taylor, a fellow volunteer in Pazardzhik, and her organization, I was able to organize an HIV/STD awareness campaign to be held in the Bratsigovo Roma community. The campaign involved talking about the risk of HIV and STDs with the community, handing out informational materials and condoms, and most importantly providing free HIV tests. I spent the last few weeks publicizing the event and getting feedback from the community.
Coming into the event, we were hoping to get at least twenty people to take these tests although we had a goal of around thirty. Thanks to the help of my Roma buddies and the efforts of the organization from Pazardzhik we finished the day with a total of 37 test given (not to mention Taylor and I who also took the test to ensure them that the tests were painless and easy.) At the end of the day we fired up a grill, bought some meat, soda, and beer, and had a little BBQ in the main square of the Roma neighborhood. All in all, the event went incredibly well and I am very happy with the result. In the near future I hope to plan a similar event for the village of Isperihovo which has an even larger Roma population.
-Currently Reading: "Snow" by Orhan Pamuk
-Currently Listening to: "Safari" by Jovanotti