February 14, 2017 marked the International Condom Day celebration. Organized by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), it is a day to promote the use of condoms correctly and consistently to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV and unwanted pregnancies. It is an event celebrated in conjunction with Valentine’s day informally and is a good time to increase awareness for safe sex.
On Feb 11, 2017 AHF organized an event to spread the awareness in the People’s Park of Yangon. There is a very sex negative attitude in our society and we want to change that. AMA believes that it is okay to be able to talk to your friends and peers about safe sex. It is okay for people to explore their sexuality in a responsible and safe manner. AHF chose Aye Myanmar Association (AMA) to be the co-organizer of this event as it is the most capable organization to do so.
AMA set up a booth in the People’s Park of Yangon to spread the message about safe sex and proper use of condoms and contraception. We want to take part in as many social events as possible to raise this awareness. People from all walks of life came to our booth to learn more about International Condom Day and about safe sex in general. The event included performances and condom distribution to visitors. Among our visitors were university students, male, female, transgender sex workers, and people of all ages.
Looking at some European countries, we can see that sex education starts at a very young age and they respond very well to it. Dutch sexuality research institute believes that the best way to develop a person’s self-esteem and sexual development is through having open, honest conversations about love and relationships early on in life. Their HIV rates and teen pregnancy rates are also among the lowest in the world, proving the effectivity of this approach (Melker, 2015).
At AMA we understand that it is important to follow great examples from around the world to bring in the best practices in Myanmar. We want to have a sex positive society and through that we want to create an effect that will translate into a positive attitude towards sex workers. We are starting the work now, for a better and safer tomorrow that does not discriminate against any profession, sexuality or gender. We recognize the importance of such exposure and continue our efforts to making sure that the message reaches an increasing number of people. Our mission is to be present in any events whether big or small to help create those changes.
We believe the outcome of this event was enormous. Being out there showing pride in our work is important to change people’s minds. Increasing our visibility is important and events like these are our platform for creating the change.