The Awajun are Amazonian people with one of the highest HIV infection rates in Peru, due to a lack of understanding of the disease and the continuity of cultural practices that favor its transmission. This project aims to empower 200 Awajun youths by providing appropriate HIV information, which will be recreated by them and shared with their peers using an understandable language with adequate allusions bridging the communication gaps that exists between health services and indigenous peoples.
HIV prevalence amongst the Awajun is 10 times higher than Peru's national rate, 2% vs. 0.2%. Awajun people have their own health-related belief, like not including the concept of chronic and asymptomatic disease, and practices that favor HIV spreading including risk sexual behaviors. The project will use an intercultural communication framework to empower 200 Awajun youths by providing HIV information that, in turn, will then be recreated and replicated with their peers.
By providing culturally appropriate HIV information to 200 Awajun youths, they will transform technical knowledge into common indigenous-friendly and indigenous-acceptable information including the creation of stories involving local people affected by the disease, the design and painting of murals with preventive messages and the elaboration of community-driven plays portraying situations that affect people at risk of infection or already living with HIV.
200 Awajun youths will receive culturally appropriate HIV information, which will be replicated with their peers using understandable language and allusions, multiplying their effect and the access to HIV information in a timely and adequate manner. Moreover, youths involved in the project will develop their capacities to communicate relevant messages to their communities, capacities that will eventually be of great use in their leadership roles thus furthering their career prospects.