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«ILO/USDOL HIV/AIDS Workplace Education Programme for Trinidad and Tobago ILO Subregional Office for the Caribbean Copyright © International Labour ...»

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• Try not to tell people what to do: Participants have to conduct their own risk assessments and then decide for themselves whether it is to their advantage to change their behaviour.

• Ask probing questions or follow-up questions: Ask people how they feel and not just what they think or know.

• Get participants to move and stretch: Some group activities can break the monotony and refresh the participants.

• Ensure that everyone participates: Try posing questions directly to individuals; pose the same question to several different people.

–  –  –

Group Size Between six to ten is the best number of participants for a peereducation session. If there are too many people, the group can become unwieldy and harder to control, and it is less likely that everyone will get the chance to participate.

Suggestions for incorporating HIV/AIDS into on-going workplace activities Provide HIV/AIDS information at the following


Staff training sessions

• New staff orientation

• Special staff training

• Occupational Safety and Health Sessions Staff activities

• Sports Day

• Staff Lime

• Christmas Party

• Awards Banquet

• Carnival activities (HIV calypso competition)

• Other

–  –  –

Some ideas for the production of materials with your company’s HIV message/motto (remember to include pre-testing).


• Posters

• Stickers

• Pens

• Pins

• T-shirts

• Calendars

• Banners (for display at functions)

• Coffee mugs

• Christmas cards

• Carnival rags

• Other

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I. HIV Prevention Basic Facts on HIV/AIDS HIV is the virus which causes AIDS H Human: Found only in humans, transmitted by humans and preventable by humans I Immuno-deficiency: Body lacks ability to fight off infections. HIV causes problems by entering a person’s body, then attacking and killing cells of the immune system V Virus: Type of germ that lives and reproduces in body cells _____________________________________________

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I Immune: Refers to the body’s immune system. The immune system is made up of cells that protect the body from disease. HIV attacks the cells of the immune system D Deficiency: Not having enough of something; the body does not have enough cells from the immune system to protect against infection S Syndrome: A group of signs and symptoms associated with a particular disease or condition. People have symptoms and diseases that occur together only when the HIV infection has progressed to AIDS How is HIV Transmitted?

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The stages of HIV infection Window period: Once a person becomes infected with HIV, there is a period of three to six weeks (sometimes as long as three months) before the body reacts to the presence of the virus and produces antibodies that can be detected in the blood by the laboratory test.

If the antibodies are found, the test result is “positive” and the person is said to be “HIV positive”. The period of time during which an 13 HIV test remains negative (even though HIV is in the body) is called the “window period”. Infected persons can pass on the virus during this time, even though they may still test negative for HIV.

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HIV has been found in saliva, but the amount of the virus present in saliva is extremely small. No one has ever contracted HIV by kissing.

Asymptomatic period: After a person is infected with HIV, there is usually no change in that person’s health for quite a few years. The person feels well, is able to work as before and shows no signs of being sick (this is what is meant by “asymptomatic”). Although HIV is present in the body, the person is fit for work. The asymptomatic period varies in duration, with the average range being between eight and 12 years. However, some individuals begin to get sick earlier than that.

Symptomatic period: This is the period during which people become sick with AIDS-related illnesses. Remember, AIDS is a syndrome: a collection of conditions, which, taken together, leads to a diagnosis of AIDS. Most of the conditions that start to appear are called “opportunistic infections”. These infections are caused by bacteria or viruses that normally do not cause illness in a person with a strong immune system, but do cause illnesses in someone whose immune system has been weakened by HIV. People with AIDS can live for a couple of years or much longer if they receive antiretroviral treatment.

14 Can a person become infected through a single exposure?

Anyone can become infected with HIV from a single unprotected sexual act or by sharing injecting drug needles. In the Caribbean, the primary mode of transmission is unprotected sexual intercourse with a woman or man who is already infected with HIV. People are more infectious just after acquiring HIV.

The origin of HIV There is no definitive information about the origin of HIV. One theory suggests that it was first transferred to humans from monkey bites in Africa. Another theory is that it reached Asia through infected drug users who came from western countries as tourists.

However, knowing the origin of the virus makes no difference when it comes to protecting yourself from getting it!

Is there a cure for AIDS?

There is no cure for AIDS at present. A great deal of research and vaccine trials are currently taking place, but nothing has proven successful up to now. A combination of drugs called antiretrovirals (ARVs) can help control the virus so that it does not weaken the immune system. ARVs can indefinitely control the virus, but they are not able to eliminate it.

The ABC…DE approach to HIV Prevention A Abstain: Choose not to have sex.

B Be Faithful: Have sex with only one partner who has had a negative HIV test.

C Condomize: Use a condom correctly every time you have sex.

D Do get tested: Know your own HIV status.

E Educate yourself: Access the information that is available on HIV.

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This exercise will help participants to examine their own values, particularly on subtle or culturally-imbedded issues and to have a better understanding of what puts them at risk of HIV infection.


Prepare signs that read ‘TRUE’ and ‘FALSE’. Post them in • opposite corners of the room.

Read one of the statements from the list below, and ask • participants to go and stand under the sign of their choice.

After each statement, encourage discussion of the topic • and provide them with an explanation of the correct answer.

1. You can get HIV from kissing False: HIV has been found in saliva, but the amount of the virus present in saliva is extremely small. No one has ever contracted HIV by kissing.

2. Breastfeeding can transmit HIV True: The breast milk of infected women contains a small amount of HIV. In Trinidad and Tobago HIV positive mothers are advised not to breastfeed.

3. People can protect themselves from HIV by always using condoms correctly during sex.

True 16

4. You can get HIV by having oral sex without a condom.

True: During oral sex, HIV may enter the body through the mouth if there are any cuts or tears inside the mouth due to injury or gum disease. People taking sperm into their mouths are more vulnerable than those ejaculating. However, oral sex poses much less of a risk of infection than vaginal or anal sex, especially if sperm is not taken into the mouth.

5. People can protect themselves from HIV by only having sex with one faithful partner who is HIV negative.

True: The only way to be sure that someone is HIV negative is to get tested.

6. You can get HIV by receiving a transfusion of HIV-contaminated blood.

True: However, all of the blood that is donated in Trinidad and Tobago is screened for HIV, and only blood that is HIV negative is used for transfusions.

7. A person can get HIV from mosquito bites.

False: Mosquito bites cause other diseases, such as malaria, but they do not transmit HIV.

8. You can get HIV by having sex with a healthy-looking person.

True: Most people living with HIV look like everybody else and you cannot tell if they have HIV by looking at them.

9. Latex condoms have tiny holes through which HIV can pass.

False: Studies prove that HIV, other Sexually Transmitted Infections and sperm are unable to pass through a latex (rubber) condom.

10. All children born to HIV-positive women will get HIV.

False: During pregnancy, the placenta is usually a good barrier between the mother and the baby, and keeps infected white blood cells away from the baby. However, an HIV-positive mother may infect her baby if there is damage to the placenta during childbirth, or via breastfeeding. In Trinidad and Tobago pregnant HIV-positive women are offered antiretroviral therapy by their doctors to reduce the risk of the baby becoming infected with HIV.

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Step 1: Have participants stand in a circle with their eyes closed. Tell them that you will designate one person from the group to be infected with HIV. That person will be given a tap on the shoulder.

Step 2: Get the participants to shake hands with three different people and tell the infected person to gently scratch the palm of the three people he/she shakes hands with.

Step 3: After all the hand-shaking is complete, ask the person who was tapped on the shoulder to step into the middle of the circle and say how he/she felt after realizing that he/she was infected with HIV.

Ask how that person felt about infecting others.

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Step 4: Remind the group that this was just a game, and that no one got infected with HIV, but stress the importance of getting tested and knowing your HIV status. Provide information on where testing can be done.

–  –  –


The purpose of this exercise is to get participants to reflect on how the behaviour choices they make may render them vulnerable to HIV infection.


Each participant will need a piece of paper and a pen or pencil.


Step 1: The facilitator will read out a list of questions to the group of participants. If the answer to the question is “Yes”, they will mark a “Y” on their piece of paper. If the answer to the question is “No”, they will mark an “N” on their paper.

1. Have you ever had sex without a condom?

2. Have you had sex without a condom with someone who was not a faithful partner?

3. If you are or were married, have you ever had sex without a condom with someone who was not your wife/husband?

4. Have you ever had a Sexually Transmitted Infection (such as Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea or Syphilis)?

5. Have you ever been so drunk that you did not remember having sex?

6. Have you ever treated a Sexually Transmitted Infection without consulting a health professional?

7. Have you had sex without a condom with more than 15

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Step 3: Ask participants to reflect on the exercise and make a list of the things they do that put them at risk of becoming infected with HIV. Then add to that list the actions that they personally can take to change those behaviours.

(For example, one risk is having unprotected sex. The behaviour change might be to use a condom when having sex).

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I.2 Sexually Transmitted Infections What is the difference between STDs and STIs?

STD: Sexually Transmitted Disease. Disease implies a clear medical problem, usually with obvious signs and symptoms.

Not all STDs have signs and symptoms.

STI: Sexually Transmitted Infection. The sexually transmitted virus or bacteria can be described as creating “infection”, which may or may not result in “disease”.

STIs and HIV STIs are indications that a person has engaged in unprotected • sex and may have been exposed to HIV.

STIs greatly increase the chances of HIV being transmitted by • providing an opening (e.g. sores from genital herpes) for the virus to enter the body.

STIs are the leading cause of infertility among women. These • infections can damage a woman’s reproductive system, making it difficult or impossible for her to get pregnant.

STIs in the workplace STIs need to be treated rapidly and professionally. Employees • are often reluctant to use workplace medical services (if available) for treatment of STIs. They may also think it is cheaper to go directly to a pharmacy rather than going to see the doctor.

There is a tendency to let STIs go untreated or to treat oneself • by getting an over-the-counter remedy at the pharmacy. It is important to get reliable treatment. Letting STIs go untreated 21 or treating oneself may lead to serious complications, including sterility and death.

Ensure that all sexual partners are tested and treated. If you • receive proper treatment and your partner does not, you may be re-infected. Remember, not all STIs have symptoms, and you could be infecting others without even knowing.

CAUTION: STI warning signs!!

–  –  –

Some common STIs Listed below are some of the more common STIs and the symptoms associated with each one. Read below to find out what may happen if the STI is left untreated.

Chlamydia Males: 25 per cent have no symptoms. Men may experience a painful or burning sensation when they urinate and/or a watery or milky discharge from the penis.

Females: 75 per cent have no symptoms. Women may experience abnormal vaginal discharge, irregular vaginal bleeding and abdominal or pelvic pain, accompanied by nausea and fever. May cause painful urination, blood in the urine, or a frequent urge to urinate.

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