First national campaign against homophobia in Guatemala
Issues: The greatest challenge to implementing the actions necessary to prevent and treat HIV among MSM is most likely the homophobia that is found in almost all aspects of society. This has been a contributing factor that has determined the configuration of hostile contexts for the self care of the people in these communities, contributing to the weak response and impediment of effective actions.
Description: The National Network of Sexual Diversity and HIV in Guatemala, a network of 18 community-based organizations working in the area of prevention and treatment of HIV in MSM, initiated the development of the, was carried out with the assistance of UNAIDS, who helped in hiring a consultant who conceptualized and designed the campaign, which had a community perspective and reflected the inter-institutional reality. With the campaign designed, three other key actors were called upon to strengthen and to validate the campaign technically: National HIV/AIDS program of the Ministry of Health and organizations integrated in the net.
Lessons learned: One of the biggest challenges to implementing an anti-homophobia campaign is that there is a lack of understanding among the majority of the general population about what actually is homophobia. For this reason, the campaign will be executed in three phases. The first phase includes actions and materials meant to familiarize the concept of homophobia, including clarifying the most common myths.
Next steps: With the campaign structured and the materials validated, the next step is to validate it among the communities themselves and other key cooperating agencies, with the purpose of strengthening the proposal and putting it into practice. The campaign will be preceded by the implementation of a structured plan that consists of workshops with journalists, columnists, and others to prepare and avoid the possible controversy generated by such a campaign.
-Abstract available at link below-