17th of September 2014
An unusual event was organized in Tokyo: 9 porn stars took their T-shirts off and let visitors touch their boobs - for charity. "I never thought my boobs could contribute to society!" commented one of the women. The event loosely translates as ‘Boob Aid' and was part of a 24 hour Stop! AIDS campaign event, which has been running since 2003 and is backed by the Japan Foundation for Aids prevention. More than 4000 people came to support this atypical charity campaign and thanks to them adult movie stars raised more than $40,000 for the fight against AIDS in just one day. Quite a lot of money, isn't it? At DAA we prefer to continue with our usual campaign style - if you want to contribute, you can buy some cool clothes and accessories here: http://designersagainstaids.tictail.com/  No boob touching allowed!
15th of September 2014
„If I could offer you one tip for your dating life - wear a condom would be it. The prevention of most sexual transmissive diseases and pregnancy have been proved by scientists"...With this life-saving tip the video of British relationship coach Adam Lyons begins, a video that was made as a parody on the famous video Everybody's Free To Wear Sunscreen by Baz Luhrmann. Maybe you still remember the commencement speech by Mary Schmich, that was published in a US newspaper in 1997 with the title "Advice, like youth, probably is just wasted on the young"? The essay, giving a series of advice to lead a better life, spread massively via email and later was even made into a music video. A lot of remakes and parodies have been made since, but it's obvious why we love Adam Lyons one. The other tips that this relationship guru is giving us in this video are maybe not as scientifically proved as the first one, but are so true, that from time to time we should think about them https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_aMTayDpxw.
12th of September 2014
I've never known that I will say that but I will have no problem to stay in Belgium little bit longer. With little bit longer I don't mean just one or two weeks, but a few months, years....It wasn't love at first sight between me and Belgium. Of course even in my first days here I was sure that it's a beautiful country, that's a fact - you can't argue about it, but I was thinking about it just as a holiday destination.   Well, things have changed and as I started to get to know it more and more, its status started to changing from holiday destination to homeland. I'm not able to say what I love the most about this country, maybe that people of all kind of nationalities, religions and cultural background live here together and everyone brought their own piece to that big puzzle called Belgium. About Antwerp I love that you will never get bored here, because the city is still changing. Even if you will go through the same street ten times in one day - every time it will be a different experience.  Or maybe I love Belgium because of their delicious beer and chocolate? I will need a lot of pages to write about all those reasons why I don't mind to stay here, so I will just summarized that I have everything here to be happy. It wasn't love for the first sight, but it's a strong relationship now.  
11th of September 2014
Pictures of people in a white T-shirt, with their mouth covered with silver ducktape and the “NO H8” sign painted on their cheek- a clear, strong message, isn't it? You probably have already seen some of these pictures, maybe you even became one of the 40 000 faces that have been photographeted in NO H8 campaign. Everything started in 2008, as a reaction to Proposition 8, the law that banned same sex marriage and was passed in California. This photographic protest was born in the heads of celebrity photographer Adam Bouska and his partner Jeff Parshley. The charitable organization not just fights for same sex marriage, but also for gender and human equality rights .   In the beggining, the campaign started with portraits of ordinary people in California's streets, soon it spread worldwide and thousands people all over the world came to an official photoshoot or took their own 'NO H8' picture at home. Many famous people also started to support this campaign, such as Larry King, Kardashians sisters, Weird Al Yankovic, Lena Headey, Martina Navrátilová and our beloved Conchita Wurst. I'm sure that the photos of the celebrities and other people, taken all around the world, will inspire you to take your own NO H8 photo! You can find them on the official NO H8 web page http://www.noh8campaign.com/ and on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/noh8campaign/timeline , where they already have more than 1 128 000 fans!
9th of September 2014
You buy organic vegetables, your morning coffee smells like Fair Trade and you write on recycled paper - but what about your love life? If an eco friendly lifestyle is your thing, you probably won't use a rubber condom - but now you'll have to find another alibi, becasue there are several condoms brands today that make your safe sex green and sustainable. Recently the new brand Sustain got a lot of media attention. Their advertisement, reminding all young ladies that they vagina deserves only the very best and encouraging them to get on top and start to make love the natural way has gone viral. You can check it out here http://vimeo.com/102929465   Sustain condoms were created by an unusual duo in this field - a father and his daughter. Sustain condoms are manufactured Fair Trade and according to the company their latex comes from one of the most sustainable rubber tree plantations on the planet. What's more, 10% of their profits goes to support women's reproductive health care and the Indian plant, where the latex is processed, has their own HIV/AIDS awareness program for local people. Good news for our vegan friends - you can use these condoms too becasue they don't contain casein and the Sustain company is a proud signer of PETA's pledge not to test on animals.   In an interview for Forbes Magazine, Jeffrey Hollender, the founder of Sustain, said that they measure their succes not just in sales growth but also in how they influence the rest of the industry and raise standards by which other companies operate. We hope that other condom companies will change their standards soon they will join visionary brands such as Sustain, Glyde, French letter or L. - the US brand that made a deal that for every condom you purchase, one is distributed in a developing country in need for free.   Do you have your favourite brand of cruelty-free, social and/or Fair Trade condoms? Let us know via info@designersagainstaids.com!  
4th of September 2014
The American artist of Czech origin BartoĊˆ Lidice Beneš got his middle name in memory of Lidice, a Czech town that was destroyed by the Nazis shortly before he was born. When his friends and partner started dying of AIDS and Beneš himself tested HIV positive, HIV and AIDS became leitmotiv of his work.A water pistol, perfume atomizer and a set of hollow darts are just few pieces from his huge collection of "Lethal Weapons", a series of objects filled with the artist's own infected blood. Although this collection was shown at the North Dakota Museum of Art without any accident, before he was permitted to exhibit it in Sweden he had to heat all the instalations to 160 degrees Fahrenheit in a hospital oven first, to make it safe for public viewing. Lethal Weapons aren't the most shocking of Beneš' works: pieces that he made from the ashes of people who died of AIDS shocked the public even more. Beneš wasn't a big fan of red AIDS ribbons, he thought that it's more important to do something that just symbolizes some fight. Red ribbons he satirized in his piece as ribbons covered with crematorian ashes. Ashes, blood and pills that were left after his friends had died of AIDS are not the only controversial materials that Beneš used - when he got his first grant he took all the money in cash. When he came home he talked to himself: "I used to be poor, what I can do with so much money?!" So what did he do? He cut all the bank notes and made them into art pieces. And this crazy idea paid off - he earned more than was the original value of the destroyed bank notes.  
3rd of September 2014
Maybe it was surprising for you that you haven't heard from us a whole day. Don't worry - we are alive, we just lost our Internet connection. Could you imagine what a catastrophe it was for an organization that works 95% online? One quote says that to get the know the people truly you should make them use a computer with slow internet. I don't believe this, I'm sure that we are definitely better persons than we were with the slow connection or even WITHOUT the internet. This whole day without the Internet reminded me of old times. Times when no one had a smartphone and the Wi-Fi in hotels all around the world worked incredibly slowly. In those times the meeting point for all travelers was the Apple store. In the Apple store you got useful information from other travelers about cheap hostels, bus connections and tourist must-sees. It was the best place for sharing travelers' experiences. And the staff was really understanding. Probably they know that if you are using their best Mac during your stay, it won't be easy to get back to your old computer when you're back home . Designers Against AIDS are back online -and we all work on Mac ;-)-, so expect more news from us soon!  
2nd of September 2014
Today we received some very special and long-awaited items - the 'Freddie For A Day' clip on moustaches! And yes, you guess it right - although the Freddie For A Day event is only in three days (On Freddie's birthday, September 5th), we couldn't wait for such a long time and we had to try on our new moustaches immediately! But don't worry, as Freddie sang - the show must go on - and we promise to wear them again on Freddie Mercury's birthday this Friday. We are ready to be Freddie - what about you? If you didn't read the information about this event yet, our article can help: http://www.designersagainstaids.com/campaigns/item/the_show_will_go_on_live_one_day_as_freddie_mercury You can find even more information on the official webpage of the event (which also has an online store, so you can buy your own Freddie moustache and lots of other goodies!): http://www.mercuryphoenixtrust.com/.All together now: We Will RocK You- and rasie funds for the fight against AIDS at the same time!
1st of September 2014
The work of Tove Jansson, creator of the legendary Moomins, was influence by World War II but also by her lesbian relationship.   Tove admits that she had drawn the first Moomin after arguing with one of her brothers about the philosopher Immanuel Kant. She sketched a weird creature on the toilet wall and wrote "Kant" underneath. This cute-ugly object later brought her worldwide fame and became legendary: Moomin books have been translated into 44 languages and children all around the world grow up with them.   According to critics, in the Moomin's book are hidden things invisible for young readers. Between the lines we can read about Jansson's lesbian romance. Characters Thingumy and Bob, who are always together and are walking hand in hand, should represent her relationship with the married Vivicka Bandler. Creatures take care about a mysterious suitcase which hides beautiful ruby - but they keep its content in secret. - Parallel to their secret and forbidden love, which they have to kept undercover because homosexuality was illegal in that time in Finland.   After Jansson met the artist Tuulikki Pietila she introduces a new character into the Moominworld: a female character with a male appearance called Too-Ticky, who is still close to Moomin and gives him guidance through the hard times. Tove Jansson and Tuulikki Pietila spent 45 years together and she was as important to her as Too-Ticky is to Moomin. Thanks to all those hidden parallels and symbolism legendary Tove Jansson's books belong to those pieces that will never bore readers of any age and every generation can find their own interpretation.  
27th of August 2014
Also read our updates from The Huffington Post and VICE Magazine under the original article please.Is polishing of your nails one of your steps to prepare for a party? In the future it can be recommended as a pre-party procedure even more: not because of your beauty, but for your safety.   Four undergraduate students at the North Carolina State University created a nail polish that changes colour in the presence of common date rape drugs like Rohypnol, Xanax and GHB (Gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid). To see if a drug has been slipped into your drink, just swirl a finger polished with 'Undercover Colours' nail polish around in your drink: if the beverage contains rape drugs, the nail polish changes colour, like the special coasters or paper strips that already exist. The young inventors won first place at a competition for students working on solutions to real-world problems with their idea and they also were supported by North Carolina State and by an investor who found them on Startup Showcase - so we can hope that this kind of manicure will be on our own nails soon! Sophia Kerby, a writer at The Huffington Post, has some very smart things to say about inventions such as this nail polish: Thanks to four male college students from North Carolina State University, you may soon be able to add a new accessory to your outfit and tool in combating date rape: nail polish. A new nail polish called "Undercover Colors" will be able to detect date rape drugs by changing colors in the presence of Rohypnol (roofies) or GHB (G-juice), the two most commonly used date rape drugs. To see if one of these drugs has been slipped in your drink, a woman has to stir the drink with her finger. Throw that in with the rape whistle and pepper spray that your mom gave you freshman year and you've got your back-to-school check list covered. While I applaud their efforts to prevent sexual assault among college students, after reading their product description, it's pretty clear that these male students know little rape culture and even less about plausible solutions. Sexual assault doesn't only happen at bars. Analysis by the Washington Post in 2012 show nearly 4,000 allegations of sexual assault on college campus with Penn State University (56), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (34) and Harvard University (31) topping the charts. About 73 percent of sexual assaults are perpetrated by someone the survivor knows, where women are more likely to feel comfortable and less guarded. Alcohol is just part of the problem. Our friends at Feministing remind us that, while the stats might vary, it's pretty clear that "plain old alcohol is the substance most commonly used in drug-facilitated rape." While well intentioned, products like "Undercover Colors" actually perpetuate rape culture by placing the burden of safety back onto women. Let's stop getting distracted by gimmicks like this and talk about real solutions to the growing violence against women. Here are three things college campuses can actually do to help keep all students safe. 1. A little rape-culture competency wouldn't hurt. One of the most devastating aspects of rape culture is the rampant victim blaming. We hear it all the time from victims not being taken seriously when they report sexual assault to their university campus to publicly defending accused rapists while denouncing what their victims say. When violence against women is being trivialized and ignored, none of us are safe. Host an on-campus brown bag lunch to talk about how victim-blaming occurs and talk about what we can do to prevent it. 2. Engage men as part of the solution. Are we having those tough conversations with men, who are more likely to be perpetrators of sexual assault against women, about how to be respectful others boundaries, personal space and what consent really means? Hannah Brancato, co-director of FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, a sexual assault prevention group, states that for consent to be part of common practice on college campuses, it needs to be incorporated "in the sexual culture on college campuses." This needs to include both women and men. FORCE launched a college-themed guide for consensual sexual activity. Check out the guide here and use it on your college campus. 3. Accountability, please. Schools currently facing investigation for mishandling sexual assault complaints have listed several possibly policy changes, including changes to their disciplinary proceedings where expulsion becomes a possibility for perpetrators of sexual assault. While such policy changes will put more of the burden on the perpetrator, such disciplinary hearings have led to wildly inappropriate questions for survivors and light punishments for perpetrators found guilty of assault, such as expulsion after graduation (who knew that was even a thing). Policy changes need to not only hold the perpetrators accountable, but the school's handing of these hearings as well. It's pretty terrible that in 2014, that these kinds of products even need to exist, but the reality is that they do exist. Instead of funneling money into making gadgets that help prevent women from being raped, let's talk about solutions to shifting rape culture where consent, on both sides, is seen as the norm. And then Bertie Brandes at VICE Magazine wrote this (and we agree with her): As somebody who writes online and tweets and identifies as a feminist, however, I appear to have drastically missed the mark. The BBC reported yesterday that a whole lot of people have been outraged by the invention of this safety precaution, and not because the scientists have failed to release an extensive color chart. The BBC also noted, quite hilariously, that "the inevitable internet backlash came from a surprising source—anti-rape advocates," as though they initially expected to be dealing with a group of pro-rape advocates furious that people might have a new way to stop them from attacking women. I can imagine the product's inventors rolling their eyes in anticipation: “Just wait til the rapists get wind of this guys, it’s going to get pretty rough on Twitter.” But no, so far the pro-rapists have kept suspiciously quiet. Instead, we have a lot of people who are actively interested in gender politics and feminism denouncing this invention. Why? Well mainly for a lot of reasons that are absolutely true, but in no way related to one another or even practically enforceable. The most annoying and widespread response has been along the lines of, “Hey, instead of making women wear this nail varnish, how about you just DON’T RAPE THEM,” as though, if these armchair activists had the power they deserve, there would be study-groups of rapists across the world being lectured and read blog posts from Jezebel, their palms glued to their foreheads in disbelief, wondering how they could ever have been so gross and inconsiderate. I don’t mean to devalue the work of those anti-rape activists, obviously, but when somebody’s response to the news of a product that might help ensure the safety of a vulnerable person is: “WELL HOW ABOUT YOU ASK THE RAPIST TO WEAR THE ANTI-RAPE NAIL VARNISH” it’s hard not to wince. Yes, of course in an ideal world the rapist would be apprehended before he even became a rapist and nobody would rape anybody ever. But unfortunately we don't live in an ideal world. Not yet. Arguing in absurdly simplistic moral absolutisms makes you sound like a five-year-old struggling to grasp the concept of crime. Equipping people with the tools to better look after themselves is not the same as victim-blaming or advising them to take “preventative measures.” What’s sad is that these and other safety measures—rape whistles or mace, for example—are largely only marketed towards females. Maybe if more people started talking honestly about how men are also at risk from both physical and sexual violence, it would feel a lot less like women were being blamed for simply being women. Finally, it’s important to remember that this nail varnish does not claim to prevent rape but simply detect the presence of a drug. And you know what? That’s pretty useful. A study of American college students put the rate of attacks carried out on people who have had their drink spiked at around 5 percent. And yet, despite this relatively low percentage of actual rapes, the act of spiking of drinks seems to happen depressingly regularly. Basically, a lot of scumbags are apparently pretty willing to try their luck. I have at least two friends who’ve had to be carried into taxis from nice bars with pizza ovens and seasonal beers because they suddenly blacked out and fell over. Both described the ordeal as overwhelmingly embarrassing because everybody assumed they’d just got super wasted on their own when they said they were going to the bathroom, which really sucks. The quicker you can identify that you’ve been spiked, the sooner you’ll get the serious attention you need. And if that means wiggling your finger in a drink to see what color it turns, so be it. Someone once gave me the advice to stick to the middle of the road if you’re walking down a quiet dark street because you’ll know immediately if someone’s approaching you. It works (do it). Maybe that strips me of my divine right to walk on the sidewalk, but it doesn’t feel like a huge sacrifice in order to be significantly more alert. Obviously in an ideal world the creep who might approach me would have been advised to walk in front of a bus, but until I see a squishy mess of a rapey psychopath under the wheels of my local, I’ll stick to doing whatever the hell I want to feel safe—and so should you. 
26th of August 2014
In the minds of a lot of people, internships connected with preparing coffee and going to the post office. Day by day by day, until the internship is over. An internship at DAA is not about doing the same work every day and when I applied for this EVS I had no idea that I was going to do such a variety of tasks. Yesterday I was taking pictures for our charity shop the whole morning http://designersagainstaids.tictail.com/ and in the afternoon on my To Do list it said: Iron the wedding dress. I don't need to highlight that some of the tasks I like more than others, right? I' m typing this post with my fingers smelling of lavender - actually, everything in our office has the fragrance of this lovely flower right now. This morning we received big package of lavender in the mail and because we want all the clothes in our charity shop to smell heavenly, I'm filling small lavender sachets right now. Later this afternoon I am going to sew some small lavender bags from leftover textile fabrics, probably. Who could expect that during my internship I will even upgrade my sewing skills!? It's not just about the office work. It's not. But then, what did I expect from a NGO called Designers against AIDS ;-) ?...  
25th of August 2014
Chinese budget aircraft carrier Spring Airlines refused three travelers after they informed them about their HIV-positive status. Although just two out of three of them were seropositive, in the end all of them had to use the train on their way from Shenyang in the northeast of China to Shijiazhuang, south of Beijing. Three passengers are now sueing Spring Airlines for that reason: they are seeking a compensation of 48,999 yuan and an open apology. According to Chinese law, airlines have a right to deny entry to passengers with infectuous diseases, but Liu Wei - the travelers' lawyer- argued that there was no evidence gathered by the airlines that showed that any of them could infect anyone else during that flight. People with a HIV postive status or with full blown AIDS don't have it easy in China. For example, it's forbidden for them to work in state administration and the long-lasting ban for entrance of HIV positive foreigners to the country was canceled just four years ago.  
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IHAEC blog

Enter the student's territory and follow the days of their lives at DAA's International HIV/AIDS Awareness Education Center (IHAEC).
On this page the students of the Education Center will tell you everything about their stay at DAA, from the things they learn and the campaigns they create to what they have for breakfast, this blog will be their online diary: an opportunity for them to share their experiences and to give you a sneak peak into the life at DAA IHAEC.
Enjoy the ride!

 

 

 

 

 

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