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HIV/AIDS Education for Youth

Region: Caucasus, Georgia
Author: NGO Mega Association, Poti, Republic of Georgia
Consortium Member: Horizonti
Status: Needs Funding Budget: $2090 Collected: $0 Needs: $2090
Goal: To fight the growing spread of HIV/AIDS in Poti, and the stigma and myths associated with the disease, through an education campaign in the six universities and technical colleges in the city.
Comment: Since over 90% of youth attend some college or technical school in Poti, the most effective way to reach youth is through the universities. Through a combination of trainings and informational booklet distribution on campuses we will inform the Poti youth population about the dangers of IV drug use and HIV/AIDS transmission and prevention. NOTE: Poti is a port city (see photo).


Project Description:

HIV/AIDS is a worldwide problem, but in the Republic of Georgia the epidemic is only beginning. In Poti, our city and a major port, HIV infections are rising for the first time. Only two other cities in Georgia have as many infections, and per capita Poti has the most HIV infected persons in the country. Of the 80 known individuals with HIV/AIDS in Poti, 80% are intravenous (IV) drug users. In addition, there is great stigma associated with HIV/AIDS infection: individuals with the disease are denied jobs and medical care routinely in Poti.
We want to fight the growing spread of HIV/AIDS in Poti, and the stigma and myths associated with the disease, through an education campaign in the six universities and technical colleges in the city. Since over 90% of youth attend some college or technical school in Poti, the most effective way to reach youth is through the universities. Through a combination of trainings and informational booklet distribution on campuses we will inform the Poti youth population about the dangers of IV drug use and HIV/AIDS transmission and prevention.

Project Goals:

  1. We will hold a total of 12 trainings sessions, over two months, on the dangers of drug use and HIV/AIDS transmission and prevention at the six universities and technical colleges in Poti.
  2. We will distribute 600 informational booklets in Georgian on HIV/AIDS and drug use to youth on campus.

Project Budget:
Seminar Room Rental:12 trainings x $15 x 2 hours: $180
Lunches for Seminar Participants: 360 participants x $1: $360
Seminar Materials Printing: 360 copies x $1 : $360
Training Materials and Supplies - Pens, stapler and staples, whiteboard and markers, flip chart papers, notebooks: $100
Booklet Printing: 1000 copies x $0.5: $500
Phone Service for two months: $60
Project Directorís Salary: $100 x 2 months: $200
Project Trainerís Salary: $70 x 2 months: $140
Subtotal $1900
VF administrative fee $190
Requested from Virtual Foundation $2090

Notes:
(1) (Lunches will encourage university students to participate in trainings)
(2) (Factual and current information of HIV/AIDS and drug use will be provided to all participants in the local language)

Project Action Plan:
MEGA Association will contact local universities' directors and organize trainings at each one to cover HIV/AIDS transmission and prevention and drug use. Trainings will be held at large rooms in the universities and lunch will be provided. Each week, a different university will be targeted. During that week MEGA Association will also staff an information table on campus and distributed booklets to students on HIV/AIDS and drug use.

Project Outcomes:
360 university students in Poti will have a better understanding of HIV/AIDS and the dangers of drug use, through their attendance at a MEGA seminar. Another 600 students will have received informational booklets on these topics.

Responses to Questions from Virtual Foundation Proposal Review Committee

1. Mega Association is closely connected to the local universities for several reasons. First, Mega's volunteer staff is composed entirely of current or recent Poti university and technical school students. Mega's current director led a Poti student alliance group while still at school and has working relationships with all university directors because of this expereince. The idea of the project came out of student staff volunteers' belief that AIDS education was important at the university student level. Also, Mega recently won a grant from the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) to lead trainings for university students in Poti on anti-trafficking issues, and will also be holding a city-wide action against trafficking, so Mega will be working with universities here for some time.

2. Although Mega would very much like to do condom distribution, Georgia's extremely conservative culture makes this sort of activity, at this point, virtually impossible. Students' parents would complain and university directors refuse to be involved with such an activity. Instead, at the trainings safe sex practices will be emphasized. Condoms are easily available at pharmacies in Poti, and this will be mentioned in the informational materials, as well as where and how to access HIV testing in the regions.

Suggestion from VF Health Reviewer:
Data (previously collected or collected as part of the proposal pre and post) would be helpful to guide the training and future planning. Which populations are most at risk? What age groups, geographic distributions,...? How is HIV being transmitted? What are the most common risk taking behaviors? It is likely that they already have this information at hand. If there are plans within the proposal to address concrete strategies in the future beyond the training session, then I feel this is an extremely worthwhile cause. These could be the building blocks for further proposals that would address the distribution of information to the populations at risk, and further elucidation on the approach this group will take.