Tuesday, October 28, 2008

HIV and OUTreach

Next year, I will be volunteering my time as an HIV-test counselor at the Uni. Health Service. It is now well known that HIV counseling and testing programs have helped people learn and deal with their HIV status better. My interest in the testing program is to help extend this much needed awareness through emphasis on prevention and care, and to address the general misconceptions about HIV risk through counseling and guidance. I am particularly concerned with how the social-self of an individual is affected in the broader dynamic of HIV infection and AIDS.

But let me share with you how it all started. I began learning more about HIV disease after watching a student documentary on sexuality and HIV few years ago. The real-life film entitled "Summer in my Veins" (1999) explored the complicated dynamics of secrecy and revelation around the protagonist’s onetime unsafe sexual encounter with an HIV-positive gay man. Through this, it documented the role of HIV testing and counseling in the "coming-out" process of its protagonist; and weaved together health, social and financial issues concerning this disease.

The film was an eye-opener. I followed it up to know more about the film-maker Nishit Saran, the then student at Harvard. My search led me to this foundation, The Nishit Saran Foundation started and run by his parents in the memory of their brilliant son who soon thereafter, lost his life in a tragic road accident in India. The Foundation today, works in the areas of education, provides support to filmmakers and offers counseling and guidance to parents of LGBTQ identified individuals in India.

It is always heartwarming to hear of stories of human support, love and outreach in a world yet to be fully accepting of "alternate sexuality" [sic], HIV and AIDS. For all this and much more, the efforts of Nishit's parents are truly worthy of recognition and praise.

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About This Blog

This blog is built around what I refer to as the socio-sexual debate, meaning the simultaneously coexisting conditions of human society and human sexuality in a constant state of inner conflict and pressing debate. To read more, click here.

Opinion Matters

"There is a way of discussing sexuality without using labels" (Mika* in an interview with Shana Naomi Krochmal, OUT, 2008-01-28).

*Mika is a London-based singer-songwriter.

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