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Children’s arts draw attention to HIV/AIDS in Bosnia and Herzegovina

© Katarina Pejic
“Fight AIDS, not people with AIDS”, is among the winning drawings in a UNICEF-supported children's contest on HIV/AIDS.

SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 17 July 2008 - Winners of a UNICEF-supported children’s drawing and photo contest received cellular phones and cameras for their work depicting the effects of HIV/AIDS in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The contest involved  children from more than 80 primary and secondary schools in the country.

Through children's participation, UNICEF hopes to bring more public attention to the rights and needs of children and families affected by HIV/AIDS. The participants had the opportunity to choose using either drawing or photography to demonstrate their knowledge on the issue. They were also asked to express their attitudes towards people living with HIV and the reality of how much stigma they are faced with in the society.

“Through this successful collaboration we gained insight into the perceptions, attitudes, and levels of understanding of students on HIV/AIDS and their effects on young people and society,“ concluded UNICEF Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina June Kunugi.

“Although many children used negative, scary images such as monsters and drug syringes to show the danger of the disease,” continued Ms. Kunugi. “We also saw these children’s compassions for people affected by HIV/AIDS, and the need to protect women and babies in particular.” One of the winning drawings, said Ms. Kungugi was entitled “Fight AIDS, not people with AIDS”.

Over the past six years, HIV prevalence rate in Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States has increased 150 per cent, the fastest growing  HIV infection rate in the world.

“Although HIV prevalence is still low in Bosnia and Herzegovina, recently conducted Bio-Behavioural Study showed that in this country high-risk behaviours exist, including the early use of drugs and unprotected sex among young people,“ said Dr. Ranko Petrovic, UNICEF HIV/AIDS Specialist.



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