22nd of July 2014
The words "Inhabitants of Antwerp" include the full package of the world's nationalities and religions, but all citizens of Antwerp have a lot in common. One of the things they share is their love of talking to strangers. Don't think that the tram driver will just sell you a ticket - with the change he will also give you a few warming words and will start a little conversation.The old lady on the crossroads will tell you her life story before the traffic light turns green again. On the bus, in the streets, in the shops, in the churches - Antwerp's citizens will try to chat with you everywhere you go. Even if you are jogging in the park and couldn't catch your breath - even there other runners will try to talk with you. One thing that they love even more than talking with strangers is singing in public. Not for money, just because they are happy. When you are going down the streets you are passing many people singing various songs. Not just some crooning - they are not afraid to sing really loudly and from time to time they even add little choreography. Could you imagine the scene from various movie musicals when one customer starts singing in the shop and other singers are joining him? A Hollywood fantasy? No, an Antwerp reality.  
21st of July 2014
  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CmnJvGJFGY   Today Katy Perry released a brand new video for her song 'Unconditionally' and it's already becoming one of the most beloved videos of this summer. The new video, that goes with the song with the same name on her album PRISM, features HIV positive and negative young people showing their love for each other. "I worked with UNICEF on this new ‘Unconditionally' video in support of the 35 million people living with HIV, especially the young people who often suffer in silence", Miss Perry says. The online message when Katy announced the launch of this video is even stronger, because she dedicates it to all victims of the MH17 airplane, many of whom were travelling to the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia. Originally the plan was to launch her new video there. This is not Katy Perry's first act of supporting HIV/AIDS awareness of course: In 2009 she joined our project Fashion against AIDS, for which she designed a body suit for girls and a T-shirt for men and chose the slogan "It's what's on the outside that counts." But somehow we think that wha't going on inside is pretty important too for the talented singer. Thank you Katy and keep up the good work!  
18th of July 2014
The idea that music can influence our behaviour isn't new: even Plato dallied with this idea already. In the past the effects were mainly used to speed up manual workers, but nowadays it's used mostly in differents marketing strategies. Does music really have the ability to influence our dating behaviour?   Psychologists Nicolas Guéguen, Céline Jacob and Lubomir Lamy tried to figure this out. In their experiment, single girls were exposed to romantic or 'neutral' music. After they heard one song in the waiting room, they were asked to discuss about organic cookies with a young man (the girls thought that this discussion was the real aim of this research experiment). During the break this guy asked them out on a date. And how did it end? It worked! Women previously exposed to romantic music complied to his request more readily: more than every second girl accepted his invitation! In the group of girls who listened to the neutral song, he wasn't very successful: less than 30% wanted to go out with him. Music has the power!   And what about you? Will this song work on you? As the romantic song they chose Francis Cabrel's 'Je l'aime à mourir   http://youtu.be/bMZVtFCU0ZQ   Are you ready to accept almost every request for a date now? Or did you find the song that was research selected as neutral more romantic? http://youtu.be/FQotk2iJNNQ  
17th of July 2014
Does your partner study medicine? Help him or her to prepare for their exams with these "see-thru" undies. These undies not only flatter your figure but they can also teach you the anatomy of the female genital organs -in the medical sense, mind you. Should your friend really want to excel in all his/her exams there are also bathing suits with internal organs or muscles printed on them. And for those studying circulatory systems, we recommend these fetching stockings.   Photo:dontpaniconline.com / bittersweetjaol     P.S. Do you still remember this bodysuit that Katy Perry designed for our Fashion Against AIDS campaign in 2008? We hope that you at least keep its message in mind: real beauty is on the outside.  
16th of July 2014
Ahoj! Jmenuji se Eliška. Hello! My name is Eliška ...and the story of my 2 months internship at DAA started two days ago.I was sitting on the bus that would take me from Prague to Antwerp and waving to my friends who came to say goodbye to me. All I knew about my new home was that we have three cats and an electric guitar. And that was good enough for me. When I arrived to the DAA house I couldn't believe my eyes: it's even better! We don't have three cats - but four! I haven't seen any guitar yet, but instead of this we have an old piano and amazing paintings everywhere you look. While I was sitting in our garden and calling my friends, I realized that my internship here will be super successful if even just one of my friends who came to say goodbye to me when I was leaving will welcome me back in the Czech Republic with the words: „Eliška, I've got tested! " When I send this article to Ninette she took me somewhere. It should be their living room. Ufff living room?!!! Paradise! Paradise with many guitars, combos and guitars effects. I am absolutely in love with this place!  
28th of June 2014
Hi DAA Lovers, As an old intern and new correspondent in Turkey, I have good news for you. Last week the first transgender beauty queen competition held in Frappe Bar, İstanbul. The contest was organized by İstanbul LGBT Solidarity Associations in order to draw attention to LGBT people in the country who face continual legal challenges, discrimination, hate crimes and murders. There were 8 jury members and 15 competitors from different cities. Yanki Bayramoğlu finally took the crown. Bayramoğlu was crowned by Madame Marika who is the first drag queen of Turkey. 500 guests attended the event which was the last event of Istanbul LGBT Pride Week 2014.   If you want to watch the Zenne, male belly dancer, performance in the contest, check the link! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbGDcBLYTjU
27th of June 2014
Today the US celebrates National HIV Testing Day and, with the help of many volunteers, lots of events for HIV prevention and awareness will be organized around the country. The Greater Than AIDS 'I Got Tested' campaign helps people that want to organize a testing event and testing online campaigns. The project helps people by making them aware of their social power so that they can use it by acting up. We really love this.There is a message to share in our communities: the importance of celebrations like NHTD is given by the fact that public opinion, on one side, understands that HIV is now a manageable disease but, on the other hand, it still sees it as a social taboo, something to keep in the dark. From a certain point of view you can understand some of the reasons why this is happening. For instance, it's quite natural to instinctively try to leave ‘bad' things behind in order to look for a brighter future - many of us do this during our life. The start of the AIDS epidemic was a moment of worldwide panic and nobody remembers it with pleasure. However this doesn't imply that we can rush fast with our imagination towards a rapid conclusion of such a complex problem. Society is ‘normalizing' its view on HIV and this is an important goal that many researchers and activists helped to reach. Education of the new generations is fundamental to have a real impact on what will happen in the next years. In fact we don't all have the same view on what are the right things to teach young adults for them to be able to grow and live in a responsible and healthy way. For us they are: respect, awareness, curiosity and keeping a sense of humor. Know what you are doing -this is the way you'll really enjoy your life.Do you want to know why YOU should get tested too? Then watch this 1 minute video by Testing4All:   http://www.testing4all.org/ 
24th of June 2014
Can a video game be used to do research on HIV? Sure it can and it actually happened 3 years ago already: from 2011, players of Fold It are helping scientists of an experimental research program of The University of Washington's Center for Game Science in collaboration with the UW Department of Biochemistry. The idea for the project was born because researchers needed help to understand how to literally unfold the structure of a protein that plays an important role in HIV.  Researchers had no problem in admitting their limits of understanding and prefer to simply find people more able than them for the task. The limited set of rules of 'Fold It' are similar to the way the protein works at its molecular level, so why not to get creative with that information? The importance of this project isn't given only by the original idea of using video games, but also because it finds a way to actively engage citizens in the work for a noble cause. This is what we call acting up- have fun, you gamers!
16th of June 2014
Human beings are living creatures, therefore they copulate. The same goes with animals, as all we know, but we're not completely sure whether they do it for the same reasons. For a long time, science kept saying that procreation is the only reason why animals have sex, as if humans were the only living species on earth that have sex for enjoyment too. However, scientists are now collecting evidence that animals, and especially mammals, experience sex in ways that relate also to more immediately relevant mental and emotional experiences. An ape have sex because it's driven by a natural instinct, it will never wonder if it's appropriate or not to copulate for not procreation-related reasons. Animals just have sex, end of the story, they can have social habits but not moral constraints. The ‘hippie apes', or Bonobos, are the most famous example: sex is a constant in Bonobo's social life and it's fundamental for these apes to form social bonds. Bonobos have no sex taboos on gender, age or social class and, quoting Wikipedia, "Bonobos are the only non-human animal to have been observed engaging in all of the following sexual activities: face-to-face genital sex (though a pair of western gorillas has been photographed performing face-to-face genital sex too), tongue kissing, and oral sex.". It is also quite interesting to observe that Bonobos are genetically as close to humans as chimpanzees, but their society is matriarchal and, in general, they aren't aggressive animals, while chimpanzees can often be very violent with each other. The American science writer Jason G. Goldman recently wrote a piece on bbc.com about sex behaviours in animals, highlighting some interesting recent discoveries. For instance, researchers Alfonso Troisi and Monica Carosi spent 238 hours watching Japanese macaques - observing around 240 individual copulations (!) - and came to the conclusion that females can have a form of orgasms and that usually happens when copulating with males belonging to an 'higher social class'. Isn't it curious? Check also the following links, where you can find some more interesting stuff about our beloved Bonobos and gay-ish brown bears.What we are saying now could get many scientists angry because one of the most important things to keep in mind when you talk about animal observation is to not follow the temptation of saying "Oh god! They are animals but they are acting like humans": ‘anthropomorphosis' isn't a scientific attitude. Nonetheless, the article by Goldman ends with quoting ethologist Jonathan Balcombe, who, in the Applied Animal Behaviour Science, seemed to conjugate a canonical Darwinian point of view with some interesting consideration about animals and sex. "Pain's unpleasantness helps steer the animal away from 'bad' behaviours that risk the greater evolutionary disaster of death. Similarly, pleasure encourages animals to behave in 'good' ways, such as feeding, mating, and...staying warm or cool."    
3rd of June 2014
In 2011 Joe Nelson launched TheyFit Condoms, the world's first custom-fit condom line. Before TheyFit Condoms, Joe worked as a trader for the famous investment bank Goldman Sachs, but after the economic crisis and the scandals of 2008 he decided to change the direction of his career. Joe said he wasn't feeling completely OK with his job anymore; after 2008 he would only say that he worked in finance, without mentioning the name of his workplace. Interviewed by Router, Nelson told how he eventually shifted from working for a bunch of knobs to work with a bunch of dicks. After his moment of crisis, Joe decided to start working in a business that could make him proud of himself and condom production seemed to be the perfect area. Joe had to come up with a new idea, with something that nobody ever did before, thus he decided to start producing and selling custom-fit condoms, as was the fashion 100 years ago. Nelson's company is not very different from a tailor, who makes a suit that fits his client: in the same way TheyFit has a very complex production line, so that they can offer 95 different sizes of condoms. The care for the clients' feelings seems to be the company's priority, in fact the names of the different condom-sizes don't follow any metrical order. A client who's less gifted in dimensions than others will not order a pack of condoms sized ‘XS' or a ‘0', instead he will just have to communicate a code of randomized letters and numbers. As you can see, professionalism is all in the details. Nelson's predictions about the future of his business are positive and he's not expecting to go back to his previous job any soon. He thinks his idea is quite revolutionary and it actually is. TheyFit condoms are delivered in Europe, the US and Canada, so many men can already enjoy the pleasure of a rubber that perfectly follows their intimate shape. From now on, as soon as you will hear the classic line "Condoms don't fit me very well", you know what to answer: "Shut up already, they make them tailor made these days!"  
28th of May 2014
I kind of hate writing things like this, because I never know what to do … or say. Who knew writing a good bye letter would be this hard. I’ve been thinking about this blog entry for so long and still…. Nothing. So just in case my departure blog entry sucks, I’ve brought my dear friends at DAA a bottle of Rakija (House made Croatian alcoholic beverage) to help them forget all about it. Here goes nothing.  My last day as an intern at DAA has come. It has been a pleasure working along the side of some great and strong people who are determined to keep on fighting for the better.  When I first came here 8 weeks ago I was feeling all colours of emotion: excitement, fear, anxiety, happiness and maybe a little bit lost, because I had no idea what was about to happen. Well I’m feeling kind of the same at this very moment. When I leave this place tonight, I’ll be shutting one door and the next will open. But what’s behind it? I have no idea. But that’s ok, I feel like I’m ready for it.  I’ve learned a lot here at DAA, things about myself, but also about HIV, AIDS, STD’s and safe sex and how all of these things appear in the rest of the world. I’ve been shocked sometimes by the stories I’ve read, but these things make you want to fight harder. Btw, I’ve discovered that I LOVE managing social media…except for Twitter, I hate Twitter. Here’s some things I’ll miss the most. I will miss Matteo and how enthusiastic he gets when he speaks Dutch, which he gets better at every day. I’ll miss our daily lunches and our maybe sometimes weird/funny conversations. And don’t get me started on Jean-Yves and his special bound with Ziggy, it’s simply adorable. I think they will be friends for life. And… I will miss this house, there is just something about this house that makes you feel welcome and a part of something. Maybe I’ll offer to house sit in the future :p .  The fun get-togethers after work will also be missed, there have been a few, but they were great. So this is the end….  Thank you Designers Against Aids for a great experience! Hvala I vidimo se!  Pozdrav - Mirela
27th of May 2014
Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett, freelance journalist, has brought up an interesting subject in The Guardian. How come that young people (women in particular) are ditching contraception and simply think they are blessed with lots of luck? She’s writing from her point of view, but also from other young women’s point of view. Let’s see what is being said about contraception.  The thing is that: yes when you’re young, you’re kind of fearless and think that nothing can go wrong. A lot of young people have unprotected sex and they are claimed to be the poster demographic for unprotected sex. But the thing is that women who are way past their teens and who are now at a ‘responsible’ age, are having unprotected sex. And I say responsible because they pay bills, rent and have a career, but just can’t seem to use contraception.  These days a lot of women rely on the ‘pulling out’ method. In America 31% of young women between 15 and 24 have relied on this method at least once. Many women say that they use this method because they don’t like using condoms or the pill. Mostly because their partner doesn’t like them either, or because they don’t like the additional hormone dose. Here are three stories about young women who are not using any contraception, but are ‘pulling out’ instead.  “Pulling out is our main method of contraception.” This is what Harri Wright says. She never liked the pill because it made her feel weird and she experienced nausea. Her and her boyfriend use the pulling out method and keep an eye on her cycle.  “I think I’m more mature now. I sort of want to go back and shake the younger me and make her see sense.” Says Jess Tyrer (23). Well by all means, please do. She has had unprotected sex quite a lot and just never had the worry about STD’s or pregnancy. Ignorance is bliss? I don’t know. I’m just glad that she sees it differently now.  Last but not least we have Emma Alfonoso (26). With her it all started out when she was a teenager and was actually ‘manipulated’ by her boyfriend. She was unsafe once, it ended well, so she got over the fear. She believes condoms are a mood killer, no matter what sort it is. And the pill is a pain to keep track of, plus it caused some horrible side effects. She says: “having unprotected sex is one thing, but not getting checked and having unprotected sex when you’re not sure whether you are clean or not is quite another.” She sure is right about that.    I have to say that this article surprised me a lot. I actually thought that women were the ‘sensible’ ones when it comes to safe sex. Apparently not. I might be overly concerned when it comes to being safe, but that’s how I like it. I hope teenagers get some good advice from their parents and educators and do practice safe sex, because, yes unsafe sex can happen, but it would be a lot better and less risky if it didn’t. You can read the full article here.
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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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