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Algonquin College News

Algonquin alumna raising awareness about the need of inclusion in HIV education

December 12, 2016
Emily Major-Girard, an Algonquin alumna from the Advertising and Marketing Communications Advanced Diploma Program (class of 2015), along with her colleague Maddison Van Balkom, (a graduate from the University of Ottawa's Bachelor of Social Sciences in International Development and Globalization class of 2014), are helping to bring attention to how HIV / AIDS information and sexual education is not reaching all people in Lesotho equally. Those with a hearing impairment or who are deaf are not getting crucial information and are at greater risk than others. 

In Emily's own words:

A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to be part of a new program at the organization we work for, Help Lesotho. This was the first time Help Lesotho has hosted a camp of workshops exclusively for students from the deaf community. It was a learning curve for all staff members; there was a lot of adaptation and thinking on the fly. This was a huge eye-opener for us, not just because we are new to Lesotho, but we realized this was a major group missing out on important information when it came to sexual education.

Lesotho is a small country landlocked in South Africa, and carries the second highest prevalence of HIV in the world. On top of that, in sub-Saharan Africa there are more people with hearing impairments than people living with HIV/AIDS. That’s why we thought it was so crucial to advocate for the rights of deaf people to be educated on this disease.

To reach the UN’s goal of ending AIDS as an epidemic, we must embrace inclusion for an AIDS-free 2030.

Emily and Maddison wrote the following piece "We Must Embrace Inclusion for An Aids-Free 2030" for Huffington Post:

Read the article here.