The annual HIV/AIDS workshop at Alaqsite’w Gitpu School focuses on more than safe sex. It uses the opportunity to discuss other important aspects of growing up – recognizing what an unhealthy relationship actually is, and self-acceptance.
“What we’re really trying to do, is create that network with our students,” said Lynn Labillois. “So growing up, you know, [the kids will think] ‘hey, that’s the nurse. I can go and speak to her.’”
The workshop is organized by Listuguj Community Health Services (LCHS), and was separated into several stations. A station for condom and dental dam demonstrations; a station on HIV/AIDS and what it is, how it’s transmitted and how one can lessen the risk of transmission; and a station explaining situations of risky and non-risky behavior with Drugs and Alcohol.
The Haven House was also present, talking about healthy and unhealthy relationships, how to recognize it and what can be done.
“We talk about ‘no means no’ healthy relationships, so that students are aware,” said LaBillois. “It’s not always as clear as we think … I guess they need a role model in the community sometimes to say ‘this is appropriate and this is inappropriate behavior in a relationship.’”
A lot of the day was focused on preparing the students should they end up in certain situations.
“We talk about abstinence of course,” said LaBillois. “It’s the same as drugs and alcohol. We don’t want them to drink, we don’t want them to use drugs. But if they do, how are they to be safe in doing so.”