4 June 2012
To break stereotypes and change the perception of society about HIV infection and people living with HIV in particular, Public Fund "Aurora" with support of UNESCO in Almaty and the Republican AIDS Center has produced two new documentary films: “The First Touch” and “The Second Touch” – the stories intend to help viewers understand their risk of being infected with HIV, understand how to protect their health, and form their own opinions about people with HIV.The hero of the first film is the head of a family from Southern Kazakhstan, where six years ago, a mass HIV infection of children occurred in children’s hospitals. The hero tells the story of how he and his family accepted the news about their son’s HIV-positive status, how they coped with all related difficulties and how they found hope to become happy in the future. His son attends school with his peers. To make this possible, the man together with doctors organized training at the school to change the attitude of teachers, students and their parents toward people with HIV.
«There were many questions from the teachers. They asked, ‘what if he has a fight with other children, or what if he bites somebody?’ It is nice that the doctors explained everything in a competent manner, so that all understood that my son wasn't dangerous. For the years that my children attended this school, there was never any circumspection regarding my son,” the man says. “After all, such fears are only from ignorance. It is not necessary to create horror stories from this situation.”
Yelena, the main character of the second film, talks about the reaction she faced from society after she discovered her HIV-status. «My partner’s reaction was very negative,” she says to the camera. “I remember running in the stadium, drowning in my own tears, and thinking that from this point forward I would reveal my HIV-status to someone every day. And even if each time I had to face such a negative reaction, I would wait for the right person who would understand. And I was right».
Many people living with HIV hide their faces. They are afraid to openly proclaim their rights because of the fear of stigmatization and discrimination from the side of those around them: their relatives, friends, neighbors and others. These short documentary films show real people, help to dispel fears and break stereotypes associated with HIV. The films can be used by various organizations for formal and informal training of youth on HIV and AIDS.
«It is necessary that the status is defined by you, instead of you being defined by the status», Yelena says.