IFPA's dance4life team and participants celebrated World AIDS Day on December 1st with a number of different activities around the country.
Aimed at young people aged between 13 and 24, dance4life is an international initiative which aims to inspire, mobilise and unite young people in the battle against HIV/AIDS. The programme uses dance, music, film and workshops to encourage young people engage in the issue of HIV/AIDS and their own sexual health.
The dance4life programme has been delivered to 2,215 young people this year.
“Young people want to take responsibility for their own sexual health and protect themselves against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections,” according to said Ann Kennedy IFPA's dance4life Coordinator
“It’s important for young people to get honest and straightforward information about how to protect themselves from STIs and unplanned pregnancies at school. Equally important is access to sexual health services and condoms. On World AIDS Day it is important for young people living in Ireland to remember that HIV has no borders. It is a global issue that affects people in Ireland as well as overseas.”
Activities that took place this month to mark World AIDS Day included:
- Students in Portmarnock Community School held a Christmas tree sale with all funds going to the HIV/AIDS programme in Lesotho, which 30 students will visit in Spring.
- IFPA's dance4life team joined in on some carol singing organised by MAC cosmetics staff on Dublin's Grafton Street to raise money Open Heart House.
- 6,000 dance4life condoms were distributed in third level institutions around the country.
- Largy College, Clones mounted a successful social media campaign to raise awareness about HIV. Italso held a red ribbon face painting event in school on World AIDS Day as well as a HIV quiz and poster campaign. In addition the students wrote letters to TDS and ministers to draw attention to the issue of HIV in Ireland.
- Third level student in Blanchardstown IT organised a HIV educational stall on campus from which they distributed condoms and undertook condom demonstrations.
- Students from Tipperary Institute’s Thurles and Clonmel campus organised a condom distribution stall.
- Larkin College, Dublin, held an art competition and collected money for Dublin AIDS Alliance. On World AIDS Day young people participated in HIV awareness workshops and heard a talk from a person living with HIV from Dublin AIDS Alliance.
- A dance4life Ireland volunteer who recently relocated to Australia organised a dance4life event in a school in Canberra attended by 800 people.
Picture: James O'Connor, Open Heart House with dance4life Ireland volunteers Shylet Mateu and Pia Janning.