As part of continuing joint initiative to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in the Timor Leste army (F-FDTL), Sergeant Manuel da Silva was recently joined by CWS staff to lead HIV prevention info-sharing sessions at the Lere Anan Timur military housing complex in Metinaro, which is just about an hour outside of Dili.
Sergeant Manuel, his wife Maria Magdalena, and their seven children are among the 100 families living in this housing complex. “I’m happy with the info-sessions” says Maria, “Many of my neighbors here have a very limited understanding about HIV, which is a problem. Now that they have new, complete information [my friends, other soldiers’ wives] keep reminding their husbands that they should be careful to not have sexual relationships with others when they are posted far away from home. And, if they do, they should use a condom. They remind them that they need to protect themselves and their families” she explained. “Since my husband became a HIV prevention facilitator, his attitude has changed 100%. Speaking quite candidly, Maria Magdalena suggested that her husband’s new attitude was shaped not only by his fear of HIV or other STI infection, but also by his knowledge of the greater damage the disease does to families, communities like their F-FDTL compound and, ultimately, their country.
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