One of the biggest challenges to combating HIV/ AIDS is lack of education. There remains widespread ignorance and misinformation
surrounding the disease. In communities where stigma and superstitions are still culturally significant, health services struggle to persuade people to take medical support – even when free treatment is available.
S.A.F.E. is successfully addressing some of the assumptions and prejudices that stop people from practising safe sex, getting tested for HIV, or caring compassionately for HIV+ people.
In 2013, S.A.F.E. undertook research to determine what high-risk groups could effectively be reached by a new HIV/AIDS programme, and what gaps in existing provision could be met. We found that although antiretroviral treatment is now readily accessible for most HIV positive Kenyans, emerging trends are putting people – particularly young people and women – at risk.
Recognising that one of the key challenges to overcoming HIV in Kenya is increasing public awareness and education, S.A.F.E. uses a popular, strategic communication tool – mobile, high-quality street theatre – to address the cultural influences, behaviours and choices that underpin the challenge of HIV/AIDS. By delivering HIV education through accessible street theatre and education activities, this model uses S.A.F.E.’s community-based approach to inform and motivate people who may engage in high-risk behaviours. By empowering communities, follow-up education programmes delivered directly by S.A.F.E. and through partner organisations are welcomed and trusted.