Many acts of Gender Based Violence which could lead to contracting HIV/AIDS, are part of the daily experience for women in Darfur. As part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women, a short play on HIV/AIDs was performed in Abu Shouk refugee camp in North Darfur.
A short skit on HIV grips the attention of the audience; the HI virus, dressed in bright red and wearing what is intended to be a horrifying mask, warns of the doom that is sure to follow anyone who dares to take sexual risks.
The skit’s protagonist contracted HIV from a scheming ‘town’ girl, who, having discovered her own status, sets out to infect 150 men with HIV.
The message might be skewed, painting AIDS as a virtual death sentence and people living with the virus as malicious individuals intent on passing it on, but the performance also clearly demonstrates the key messages about HIV prevention and treatment…….
“Domestic violence, rape, sexual exploitation of children, forced marriage – they all have consequences, including death and HIV/AIDS,”
As the report points out, a play promoting awareness around HIV/AIDS would not have been possible in Darfur a few years ago and is certainly a positive move. However there are other aspects of the play that have a “skewed message”. It is a woman ” a scheming town girl” that is responsible for not only passing on the virus to the protagonist but who then chooses to “infect” 150 other men with HIV. In this way the play actually contradicts the reality of how HIV/AIDS is spread by putting the blame of transmission solely onto women.