Local and Community News
New Mexico: Housewife Raises AIDS Awareness
January 7, 2003
Most housewives do not spend their day talking about HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention of STDs, or showing teenagers how to put on a condom. About nine years ago, however, New Mexico resident Olga Hernandez joined other housewives to organize Mujeres Unidas en Accion Contra el Sida (Women in Action Against AIDS). While statistics were scant, she thought city residents -- women, in particular -- needed to understand the disease. Now she is coordinator of MUACES, now part of Family and Youth Inc. Hernandez talks to women about the dangers of HIV/AIDS and the possibility an unfaithful husband could infect them.Adapted from:
It took some time to break down taboos. At the beginning, there were residents who suspected MUACES members were HIV-positive because they were giving talks about the disease.
With a team of 15 housewives and 20 teenage peer educators, Hernandez crosses borders to bring workshops about not only HIV/AIDS awareness but also teen depression and stress. Hatch and El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, are regular stops on the awareness campaign. Training people from the community to carry out the workshops makes the initiative more effective, she said. All three of her teenage children are peer educators.
While abstinence is encouraged during workshops for teens, Hernandez understands some young people are having sex. Parental permission is always sought before information is given to younger teenagers. Hernandez said most teenagers tell her they want their parents to talk to them about these subjects. When MUACES first started, she remembers being hard-pressed to find organizations or people who wanted to talk about HIV/AIDS awareness. "Now, their doors are open," she said.
01.06.03; Gabriela Guzman
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.