Women make up half of those living with HIV in the world but are often deprived of treatment or even unaware of their HIV-positive status. In the battle against HIV/AIDS, access to information and treatment emerges as the clear and crucial weapon, two objectives to be targeted by AAD’s latest effort.
This simple and underlying fact remains: if an HIV-positive pregnant woman less than 14 weeks along is able to receive medical treatment, the probability of mother-to-child transmission of the infection is reduced to a mere 5%. Furthermore, women, with their role as caregivers and child rearers in society, can play a key role in teaching correct health practices and establishing a foundation of essential knowledge.
With this belief in mind, African Artists for Development has decided to place women at the center of the “Operation Prevention” program, the follow-up to the previous “The Bubbles of Bukavu” initiative. The latter saw AAD distribute 100,000 free copies of the first comic book, “The Diamonds of Kamituga”, all over South Kivu Province, in a bid to spread HIV/AIDS awareness in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
For the second edition, the Congolese comic book author Séraphin Kajibwami will collaborate with the scriptwriter Appollo, who hails from the island of Réunion but has resided in the DRC for many years. During their first meeting in February in the country’s capital Kinshasa, the two decided that a heroine was to lead the story. In doing so, they hope to strike a cord with a female audience and encourage them to undergo testing of the disease.
Following in the footsteps of “The Bubbles of Bukavu”, “Operation Prevention” is the fruit of a close collaboration between AAD and the Congolese association SOS-Sida, which manages three testing centers in South Kivu Province. This time, AAD hopes to go even further. 150,000 copies of the latest comic book will be printed and distributed not only in South Kivu Province but in the country’s largest cities, with Goma and Kinshasa among them.