Edutainment in the GUTz WorldAidsWeek

On December 2, we arrive at the Submarine hotel in Kahama. Here the staff of Gutz is staying and Suzanne has also arranged a room for us. We have seen each other only recently but it is good to be together again, this time with Annemarie.

Gutz organizes seven festivals near Kahama on various days and places, called edutainment. The formula of edutainment, a free festival with informational dance, theater and music combined with free HIV testing. Suzanne tells us about the success of the past few days and tomorrow we are going to experience an edutainment festival for ourselves.

In the morning we take Milady and follow the staff car of Gutz and drive to Iyenzi, where we will visit the festival. We stop in Kilago, where we pick up the drums of the dance and theater group KMCT (Kahama Medical Culture Troup). After a half hour we arrive in Iyenzi, where the tents for HIV testing are already set up. For the first time Gutz uses their own tents, a pretty sight.

The first people are already waiting to get an hiv-test. Gutz is working with local doctors and nurses, who also take up the follow-up. We meet Dr. Hery and nurse Anna and are given an explanation of the test. a drop of blood is pricked, in the finger, after 3 minutes on a strip can be seen whether the person is hiv-positive. If someone has tested positive, a second, more extensive testing follows in order to exclude a false positive. Afterwards there will be a follow-up study in the local hospital, where medication is provided free of charge. The rest of the family is therefore encouraged to get tested.

Test takers receive a free soda and two condoms at the festival.

At the festival sounds African music to which kids are dancing. It is a game in which the public can identify which dancers can continue. The winner receives a gift from Gutz: school supplies and snacks!

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Then a spectacular performance of KMCT follows with acrobatics on gushing drum music.

They also perform a play where the theme of hiv is incorporated. The public will thus gain awareness about hiv and prevention. This is sorely needed, given the high risk factor in this area.

The last performance is provided by Mchizi Moxie. He is one of the founders of the Tanzanian hip hop flow Bongo Flavor. It is remarkable that he performs for Gutz for free. He has even written a special song for Gutz, which will soon officially hit the market.

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We enjoy the music and especially the enthusiasm of Gutz and the public. It is extraordinary to see that during the day people come and go to the festival and get tested for HIV.

The threshold here appears to be much lower than with regular testing. At 5 pm the festival is over and the results of HIV testing will be announced later.

Meanwhile, GUTz published the results of the World AIDS Week 2016: 6710 people of which 447 tested positive, a rate of 6.7%. The formula of Gutz therefore works super well and will be developed further. (Read more on Gutz website). We have witnessed this and are confident about the future of Gutz!

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