You have only one partner and you’ve always been faithful? Means you don’t have to use a condom, right? You’re embarrassed to ask your partner to use one? He gets mad if you ask him to? That’s what happened to Martha. She was always faithful, but her husband Alberto wasn’t, and finally they separated. Martha is HIV positive but didn’t know it. Later, she met Gabriel and they spent the night together. Gabriel didn’t have any condoms on him, but Martha said not to worry, she was taking the pill, and anyway, she had only ever slept with her husband. Gabriel later finds out he is HIV positive after going to donate blood.
These characters aren’t real, but the story they tell is. The message was conveyed through the characters of Martha, Alberto and Gabriel, part of the cast of a very popular television soap opera, written and produced by Oxfam partner Puntos de Encuentro in Nicaragua. In an engaging way, the show dispels myths, informs reactions, and teaches people ways of dealing with HIV/AIDS. It’s helping to increase awareness, change unsafe sexual practices, and promote respect towards those affected.
The TV plot was re-told in the Boletina, a magazine that Puntos produces 4 times a year. 26,000 copies are produced, but they reach approximately 156,000 readers. 60% of the magazines are distributed in rural areas. They are often used for study groups and workshops.
Oxfam Canada has been funding the Boletina, an important tool in Puntos’ communication strategy, for a number of years.