Creating a team of young HIV advocates
Seven young national sporting icons in Vanuatu underwent a STOP HIV Champions' Induction Training to strengthen the national response to HIV, targeting the local sporting community.
Athletics representative to London 2012, Janice Halatoa together with Arnold Sorina, Randy Benjamin, Beverly Ligo, Jo Joel, Nasario Fiakaifonu and Aileen Huir attended a 6-day-long training on HIV and the roles and responsibilities of being a STOP HIV Champion.
Sessions also centred around developing locally flavored games as the HIV education platform, working with the media, partnering with industry stakeholders, creating fun-filled and snazy advertisements on prevention with practical sessions on setting up an outreach program. The passion and creativity displayed by the 2012 STOP HIV Champions reflected the level of commitment and leadership qualities of the group - each coming with his/her own unique talent and skill.
According to Beverly Ligo, a former national netball representative, although intense, the training equiped her with a deeper appreciation of HIV and in turn the extent of the challenges that lay ahead. However, the team pledged their commitment to decreasing stigma and discrimination and promoting safer sexual practices amongst their peers in the country.
The first outreach by the team of STOP HIV Champions began 3 days following the training, as part of the national World AIDS Day celebrations.