ASRU Outreach Projects
ASRU engages in a variety of outreach activities that contribute directly to the fight against HIV/AIDS. Our primary outreach projects at present are:
- Visual Body Maps and 'Mapping Our Lives'
- Grassroots Soccer
- Collaboration between biomedicine and traditional healers
Visual Body Maps and 'Mapping Our Lives'
ASRU's involvement in the fight for access to antiretroviral treatment in South Africa took a number of forms, including the outreach project called ‘Mapping Our Lives’. This initiative is best known for producing ‘body maps’ which recorded the lives of 12 HIV-positive women who were among the first South Africans to receive antiretroviral treatment through the Medécins sans Frontières (MSF) Khayelitsha clinic. These body maps were life-sized paintings that told the stories of the Bambanani Women’s Group, including their responses to HIV and their experiences on treatment. The body maps were produced as advocacy tools with the intention of increasing awareness of the life-saving potential of antiretroviral treatment at a time when the South African government was not only resisting the rollout of ARV treatment, but also questioning the science of HIV/AIDS.
Nicoli Nattrass (ASRU Director) and Eduard Grebe (PhD candidate) are contributors to the AIDSTruth.org website, a colloboration between activists, AIDS scientists and researchers to combat AIDS denialism on the internet. ASRU provides hosting for the website and Eduard Grebe is the web administrator. AIDSTruth.org provides detailed scientific information that debunks the myths about HIV/AIDS spread by denialists and also provides news about recent research that is relevant to countering denialist propaganda. You can read more about AIDSTruth.org here.
Grassroots Soccer is an international organisation that seeks to promote HIV education and awareness through soccer. ASRU provides technical advice through the Grassroots Soccer Advisory Board. Visit this website to learn more about Grassroots Soccer.
Collaboration between biomedicine and traditional healers
Jo Wreford, ASRU post-doctoral fellow, has been working with HOPE Cape Town (HIV Outreach Program and Education) to train Traditional Health Practitioners (THPs) in western medical understandings of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. The project aims to improve relationships between THPs and medical personnel; to encourage cross-referrals; to prevent possible interactions between THP remedies and ARVs and to encourage more men to test for HIV. Outreach activities also include giving lectures to medical students.