Teen team drives HIV awareness

16/08/2018 Posted by admin

IT was the usual busy Monday morning Otho Street scene last week; cars purring past, pedestrians, foot traffic in and out of the Inverell council building, post office and police station.

One minor difference was the Pathfinders AIDS/HIV Awareness Youth Team who raised a red ribbon flag in front of council to commemorate December 1; World AIDS Day.

MESSAGE: Inverell Shire councillor Jacki Watts with AIDS/HIV Youth Team members Courtney Bright, Brayden Chiplin, Jasmine, Conn, Madison Bright, group co-ordinator Trish Thomas, Cody Sydenham and Adam Smith.

The day is recognised globally to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS, show support for people and families living with the virus and pay respect to those who affected who have died.

The students raised the flag at council, and at both Macintyre and Inverell High Schools.

They hail from both schools and share a common goal; to educate others about staying safe and free from HIV. The teens also encourage people to be tested to see if they are free from the virus.

Team member, Brayden Chiplin is in year 10 at Inverell High School. He said younger students are often shy or embarrassed about being judged when discussing the facts about safe sex and preventing HIV.

“That’s why I didn’t talk about it in previous years, but as you get older, you get more mature and then you’re getting into more detail about it and having a pure conversation about it,” he said.

Inverell councillor Jacki Watts represented Inverell council at the flag-raising. She felt the teens were taking a very positive step. Jacki recalled an old conversation she had with her husband about how to best advise their children about safe sex.

“I think to have had that conversation 20 years ago, and for it to come forward, to see that that this is being driven by the young people rather than we adults saying, ‘You need to do this,’” Jacki said.

“But they’re saying ‘We need to be aware of the effects of having unprotected sex – that is can end up with someone having AIDS.’”

Jacki felt it fitting the flag flew on Monday as it met one of council’s five goals; that of a healthy and thriving community.

“So we want our young people to be healthy and thriving. We don’t want them to have to be sitting in hospital, going through the awful journey of having AIDS.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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