Panjim : Human Touch Foundation and Just Imagine in collaboration with Department of Education and Goa State AIDS Control Society held a half day sensitization workshop on “Let’s End HIV Stigma”, in an attempt at improving the mindsets and the approach of educational institutions when dealing with children and adolescents living with HIV. The half day workshop for teachers and heads of educational institutions, was held at Baywatch Resort, Sernabatim, Colva on February 5, 2019.
Close to 50 teachers, principals and lecturers from mainly around Salcette and Mormugao taluka were a part of the informative workshop. The sessions touched upon issues like stigma, discrimination and confidentiality of children living with HIV and the need to sensitize teachers and non-teaching staff at educational institutes and equip them with adequate knowledge.
The GSACS team headed by Dr Chandrakant Parab enlightened the audience with a highly informative presentation, while Senior Medical Officer of ART Centre, Dr Wanda Viegas shared her knowledge with the educationists, who in turn had several doubts cleared. In the past there had been instances of discrimination in schools by teachers that were also addressed here. Dr Wanda also threw light on the medical and health aspects of people living with HIV and why they need to adhere to treatment.
Stigma is still a factor for many children and adolescents living with HIV in Goa. Hence, interventions should aim to correct misconceptions that HIV can be transmitted via casual contact with children living with HIV, shared Harry Patel, Founder of Just Imagine while speaking at the inaugural function. Further, Peter F. Borges, Founder of Human Touch Foundation shared that there is need to do introspection in relation to self-awareness, attitudes, values and beliefs as these are factors affecting HIV stigma and discrimination, if the state has to achieve zero HIV discrimination by 2030.
Human Touch Foundation will conduct more of such workshops in other talukas to spread awareness about HIV and the stigma attached to it.