World AIDS Day 2023 – Communities Taking the Lead in Supporting those Living with HIV/AIDS

Established in 1988, World AIDS Day is observed globally each year on December 1st to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, educate around causes and prevention, and to support efforts to help those living with HIV/AIDS access the care and services they need.

Each year a special theme is set, to highlight different aspects of the ongoing epidemic. The theme for 2023 ‘Letting Communities Lead’, marks the pivotal impact communities have had in shaping the HIV response, along with global health at large.

Sisters of St Louis and Grupo AAVE

Misean Cara supports many of its members with projects aimed at helping communities deal with the impact of HIV/AIDS on peoples’ lives, health, livelihoods, and families. Some of our members run health clinics with special in-patient and home-based services for people living with HIV/AIDS and their families, while others run projects to help support mental health issues and stigma faced by those whose lives are impacted by HIV/AIDS. Still others work with those whose livelihoods have been affected by HIV/AIDS, helping them build skills and opportunities for to provide secure futures for themselves and their families.

In the Brazilian city of Goiânia, the Sisters of St Louis work in partnership with Grupo AAVE (in Portuguese: AIDS, Apoio, Vida, Esperança; in English: AIDS, Assistance, Life, Hope). Set up in in 1995 by local woman Divina de Fátima Norgueira and Sr. Margaret Hosty of the Sisters of St Louis the organisation has grown from its humble origins to play a prominent role in caring for people who are living with HIV and AIDS.

Grupo AAVE provides ongoing support to approximately 200 people through a number of services, including psychological support and counselling, advice on rights and entitlements, and income generation.

Home visits are made to many of those served by the organisation, though some prefer not to be visited as they have not revealed their HIV status to their family, an indication of the stigma that still exists around the disease in some quarters. The group conducts educational and awareness raising events in schools, local and state-level institutions and in private companies in an effort to dispel this stigma.

For its campaigning work for the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS, the organisation has earned a reputation fearless advocacy. The project affirms the dignity of the people with whom it works, building confidence and self-esteem.

Some activities incorporate therapy and income generation, such as the design and painting of fabrics to use as tea towels (photos below).  

Learn more about Grupo AAVE and how they are leading on support for those living with HIV/AIDS in the community of Goiânia, in partnership with the Sisters of Saint Louis and funding from Misean Cara.

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