By Nicolas Gastal
For years, advances in the treatment of HIV/AIDS reassure and demobilize the population. Too. New cases of HIV are declared each year in France and its treatment remains cumbersome. Not to mention the psychological damage that the announcement of the disease causes. 1.5 million people were first infected worldwide in 2021.
If the treatments are of immense hope, professionals, associations and volunteers are mobilizing to constantly give booster shots. That’s why December 1 is World HIV/AIDS Day every year. Raising awareness, informing, insisting on the importance of providing support to people living with the disease.
A first Aurillac action for World AIDS Day
World AIDS Day has existed since 1988. For the first time in Aurillac, this was an opportunity for actors in the field to recall their basic truths and to re-emphasize the need not to relax efforts to provide information on the terrible consequences of the virus. “More than ever, condoms and information are the only effective prevention”, recall Marcello Pandolfivolunteer, prevention officer and field facilitator.
But since the closure of CODES in 2013, this is the first year that Aurillac has hosted World AIDS Day. “It’s a pity to have abandoned the actors in the field as the CODES did in its time. Today, we succeeded in mobilizing the Aurillacois for an action which insisted on two points: the importance of speaking without embarrassment of the condom to facilitate the first sexand never forget that everyone should feel concerned, which is far from being the case”, deplores Marcello Pandolfi.
Fundraising for Sidaction
The exhibition-animation-snack at Emile Duclaux High Schoolwas set up with the help of its headmaster David Ballieuthe school nurse Christine Mercier, field coordinator Marcello Pandolfi and IREPS-ARA Cantal. The dance performance offered by dancers from La Manufacture as part of “Dancing Thursdays” brought together a number of spectators who were able to help patients, their families and research, thanks to the collection of donations. “We were able to collect €397.11, sent to Sidaction Paris”.
Other actions are set to recur
World AIDS Day was a success for the organizers, who saw young people sensitized, interested and concerned. “We will continue to mobilize for actions on the ground. In March 2023, on the occasion of Sidaction’s scientific day, the Manufacture, the Lycée Émile Duclaux and, as every year, the Lycée Monnet-Mermoz, are ready to continue raising awareness. As long as the disease exists, prevention will be essential.”
IREPS provides educational tools and training to professionals
Created in June 2021 in Cantal, the branch of IREPS based in Aurillac is aimed at professionals in the health, social and education sectors, institutions, companies, elected officials and association volunteers. It acts as an interface and develops health education and promotion projects. Quite unknown to the general public, it nevertheless intervenes at IFPP, at the second chance school, in the integration centers, or even at the services of the PJJ of Aurillac. It provides educational tools, methodological advice and webinars. The association is supported by the ARS ARA and offers service by appointment. “The IREPS 15 supported the action of December 1st and it should support other actions in this direction, in particular that envisaged next March for Sidaction”.
Marcello Pandolfi, former member of CODES
He is a figurehead in Aurillac and has campaigned for prevention in the field since his involvement with CODES, which closed in 2013. Aurillac hospital which has been offering a screening center for 4 years. The IREPS ARA, which has been involved in the Cantal network since its arrival in Aurillac in June 2021. But we must not wait for young people to come to us, we must go to young people, which is why I am campaigning for field prevention “.
Although he was one of the pillars of World AIDS Day in Aurillac, he wishes to multiply actions of this type to never release the pressure on the risks of misinformation or non-information. “AIDS still exists, it still does damage, we must continue to use condoms in all sexual relations, do not hesitate to get tested. Discomfort is not inevitable, health is not an option”.
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Aurillac. AIDS: stepping up prevention and fighting misinformation