Some resources to support teaching about HIV/AIDS for World AIDS Day 2011

I have just finished mapping a massive resource of HIV/AIDS Education lesson plans and activities.  It is like a mixtape compilation CD but better!

Anyhow I thought it would also be worth sharing some of the best bits here (although sadly a lot of it is not available online and I actually need to work out how best to host some of the best content myself first *watch this space*). (This post builds on from 3 masterplans to cover HIV/AIDS in your lessons)

You have got to start with the NAT resource because it’s really good (I especially love the exploring prejudice activity)! (and as background I really like this and this from NCB).  And as I have said before I love love love the Mr HIV videos- (watch them in full to assess suitability for your class).

I also posted a mixing cups activity  free to download from the TES website which explores how some STI’s might be transmitted.

I have just posted some Poems about HIV/AIDS written by children I was working with in South Africa.

There are a million more things I could suggest but sadly my to do list before I go on maternity leave is taller than me so I can’t write much more now but I want to get this post out there, so I am going to click publish but will try and come back to it to add more ideas another time.  In the meantime if really stuck – shout for help- sexedukation at gmail dot com.

Poems about HIV/AIDS written by South African children & young people.

Today is World AIDS day and a day I always take time to reflect on my time spent working in KaNyamazane on an HIV/AIDS education project. (first as a volunteer and then a subsequent year as a co-ordinator)  It was the most incredible amazing experience of my life and it changed me for ever.  I wouldn’t be doing the job I do now if it wasn’t for my time out there.

The poems below are so moving and incredible when you also consider that some of the students writing them were only in Grade 7 of Primary school (the equivalent of Y6) and were writing them in their second language.  I have written them exactly as they were written.  These are the young people’s voices and their  perspective and experiences.  N.B Trigger warning- some of you may find the content of these poems distressing- especially the one about rape.

These poems are very powerful if read out in World AIDS Day assemblies.

Please see end of this post for further notes on these poems.

I can get through a beautiful lady
And strip her beauty out
I can drive the world crazy
And shake even the most handsome guys,
AIDS can move and kill even the president
And his wife is nothing to AIDS
When AIDS is angry nobody can stand his anger

Grade 7B
Primary school KaNyamazane, South Africa

Virus you are virus
Because you live in blood only
You are a syndrome
Collection of diseases
You kill young adult young child
You kill heros and zeros

Primary school KaNyamazane, South Africa

Why me?
Hospitals and clinics,
Are full of people
Affected by HIV/AIDS
Doctor and nurse are
Trying to save each soul

Everyone is opening mortuary business
Of a day
Home spaces are being decreased
Grave yard increasing

We as a nation must stand and fight the virus
We are all infected and affected by HIV/AIDS

Grade 6B
Primary school KaNyamazane, South Africa

What an illness
My life is meaningless
You make my life lifeless
You make me hopeless
What an illness

You don’t care who you kill
It old and young
Big and small
Bad or good
What an illness

The sky was blue
Now its black
People hate each other
Because of you HIV/AIDS
What an illness

Primary school KaNyamazane, South Africa

HIV and AIDS poem
AIDS kills, AIDS has no friend,
Always be carefully and
Abstain from sex
Look around and round
Our mothers and fathers are
Not with us today
Because of this disease
Please try to abstain from sex

Teenagers look carefully
Look and look,
Study and study
To those who are affected and try
And get a good lesson

Never ever try to know
Sex without marriage is
Not good because one day
You have to get suffering and
Nobody can help you

Primary school KaNyamazane, South Africa

Poem about HIV/AIDS*

There is a disease around the world
The disease try to destroy all people who live in the world
I want to say don’t have sex when you are young
AIDS is the killer

AIDS is there and AIDS is live
When the man want to have sex with you
Say no because if you say no you protect yourself

All people don’t forget that you are HIV positive,
All people hate you because they
Scared to get the disease.

I want to say into all girl stop having sex
When you unmarried because you get a problem
With this disease
And no-one want you as a wife

And I want to say into the boys don’t
Force a girl to have sex because we get a disease
And the disease is the killer

Primary school KaNyamazane, South Africa

AIDS poem
HIV/AIDS what a deadly disease you are.
You destroy and kill the nation
If only people would realise
Your danger
They would try to protect themselves

Its here and going nowhere
If people of the world would have known you
None of this would be happening.
People of different races, sexes and cultures,
Are vanishing into the thin air

If people of the world knew you were
This deadly disease
They would act straight.

It will be here for centuries to come
So lets start now, and teach our young ones
To know better and not be destroyed by it

The next generation will come and it will still be here
One only thing, it will be there
But it won’t destroy generations to come.

They would have been taught and would
Know of this deadly
Here and will destroy no more

All because of knowledge
And power of choice
Here and going nowhere

Grade 7A
Primary school KaNyamazane, South Africa

AIDS is a killer disease
Aid is not expensive

Because of an illness
The cause of killer illness

HIV is stand for
Human Immunodeficiency virus
AIDS is stand for
Aquired immunodeficiency syndrome

Don’t go away to night
With boys, because AIDS is here
If you don’t respect your parents
Because of AIDS
Because of Boys
AIDS is kill

If you have AIDS
Eat fruits
And soft food and vegetables
If you have AIDS you have
Many illness cause of AIDS

If you have AIDS
You have some wound
Some Headache, Backache,
Some come thin and tall

Some have AIDS go
To rape children and
Said if you sleep with children
AIDS go away.

Primary schoolKaNyamazane,South Africa

Rape Poem***
Don’t be quiet
When someone
Touch your private
Go to the police
To report him or her

When somone rape you
Tell your mam or your
Friends because you
Will die or you will found
The AIDS or you will become

Do not go to the tavern
Because when the mans
was drink, they will rape
you or they will kill you
don’t ask the lift because
they will rape you.

Primary school KaNyamazane, South Africa

* Culturally the young people writing these poems are living in a time of mixed messages (like our U.K young people).  They were getting strong messages from church, teachers and family that sex before marriage was a sin and it would be their own fault if they got HIV because having sex caused it therefore abstinence was the only way to protect themselves, combined with lots of health promotion campaigns about safer sex, rape  prevention, campaigns to address stigma and prejudice for people living with HIV.  I think this confusion comes across in their poetry.

**  You will notice that a few of them mention eating vegetables to stay healthy.  I am not entirely sure whether this is linked to Mbeki’s- “sweet potato HIV cure” era – I rather more think it was due to the fact that in the absence of any anti-retroviral therapy being available then staying fit and healthy was the most widespread piece of health promotion for those living with HIV.

*** In South Africa rape is unfortunately a huge issue.  Although huge inroads have been made into combatting the myth -“Having sex with a virgin will cure you of HIV”, when I was there I definitely saw its continuing ugly existence from talking to people.  Sadly in some utterly horrific cases this has lead to babies being raped.  I worked in a rape crisis centre out there for a while and some of the cases we saw absolutely broke my heart, and the strength and resilience some of the survivors showed was truly awe inspiring. Many young people I worked with had either experienced rape or knew someone close to them who had.   Rape prevention campaigns were widespread but as you can see the notion of victim blaming (Ie. say no to unwanted sex, don’t go near drunk men etc) are widespread (as they are in this country).    I decided to leave the Rape Poem in as although distressing – that was her voice and her experience and I was not going to silence it/sanitise it for the sake of my blog readers.

Please take a moment to reflect on these poems and consider how you could use the voice of these young people in your classroom/school.