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June 15, 2010

Digital Stories: Moses Olich in Baringo

By Matthew Herren, Photos by Tammy Tschentscher

Our match showings are about more than just football. They are, in fact, primarily, about HIV and AIDS, with football being the perfect catalyst for bringing people together. At our events, we lead off with discussions about HIV and AIDS, ways to prevent it, and ways to treat it.

Moses Olich is a teacher at a local school near where we showed the Serbia-Ghana game.

During the game, he approached one of the Africa Goal team members, interested in learning more about HIV and AIDS, and in particular, he wanted to get himself and his two wives tested. He was particularly worried because his ex-wife is living with HIV. (She also attended our match-showing, and told us how she is receiving treatment, and as a result, is able to live healthily).

His first question was one of prevention. He had heard that condoms were “bad,” and actually increased the likelihood of contracting HIV. We assured him that this was not the case, and that the use of condoms is an important component in preventing onward infection. He then told us about how he had been meaning to get himself and his wives tested for some time, but that the nearest clinic is far away and he has not been able to.

In collaboration with our local partners, a facility for testing had been set up at our match event. Free testing and counseling services were made available to anyone interested, and the results can be ready in as little as fifteen minutes. Moses and his two wives quickly joined the line. In total, 21 tests were carried out during the game. For an area where HIV and AIDS are still a taboo topic, its a very encouraging start.

During halftime, Moses and his wives found us again. From their big smiles, it didn’t come as a surprise to us that they all tested negative.

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