2.4 Our body game (Video)

Following the slightly dull lecture, “AIDS graph,” the connection between infection and syndrome will be presented in a more accessible, fun and interactive way.

cape or sign to mark a volunteer as “Our body”
4 caps of the “White blood cells”
4 disease masks, e.g. cough, fever, malaria and HIV
illustrative chart with the word “AIDS” on it

Interactive game with audience participation.

At the start of this game the speaker has the task of briefing the volunteers about their roles, and to explain what the playful presentation represents. The explanation links the game to the prior module: “AIDS graph.” One volunteer is representing “Our body” and positions himself in front of the audience. Additionally, “Our body” has an immune system which is characterized by 4 volunteers wearing the “White blood cells” caps. One after another other volunteers are acting as more or less severe diseases by putting on the disease masks. The audience then can see how cough, fever, malaria, or other diseases, one after another try to attack “Our body.” It results in small fights and scraps; however, “Our body” is well protected by the surrounding “White blood cells.” Ultimately, the game shows how his immune system can repel these threats.
Instead of attacking “Our body,” the HIV attacks the “White blood cells” and pulls them away from “Our body.” Now “Our body” is defenceless; instead of the “White blood cells,” the HIV is standing besides him. At last the diseases have an easy job and can, unhindered, attack “Our body.” There is no immune system anymore that could fight off the diseases, and “Our body” becomes increasingly weaker. This weak and defenceless state of “Our body” [“Our body” surrounded by “HIV”, "cough”, "fever” and ”malaria”] is called AIDS by the speaker. The illustrative chart “AIDS” is held up high.
At the end of the game it seems important to us to point out the exemplary character of the diseases cough, fever and malaria in order to prevent the development of stereotypes and stigmatisation. AIDS is a general immune deficiency, which makes the body defenceless to all manner of diverse diseases.

[Pathogens (bacteria, viruses, funguses and so on) are not diseases, or rather, their connected symptoms are attacking the body. If the repel reaction is inadequate or the offence takes place on such a large scale, a disease develops. HIV is not a disease but a pathogen. We are aware of those simplifications, which are leading to a better understanding of this module.]

15 Minutes.

This illustration is clearly a simplification, which can also lead to confusion. Symptoms, pathogens and diseases, and their cause and effect connection, are in a muddle.
> More or less differentiation (e.g. pathogens on the masks) in relation to the educational level of the audience

[Within this part we are showing examples, and presenting some questions and the answers we were giving or rather the strategies we were using.]

Where does HIV/AIDS originate from?
Answer: This is a very interesting question, but we unfortunately do not know for certain. There are different assumptions (Europe, Africa, Asia, America) about it, but none is for certain up to now. Do you know where Malaria and Polio originated from? Is it important at all? HIV, Malaria and Polio exist, and they are a threat to all of us. Therefore, we have to focus on going into action against all of them, and to protect us as well as possible.
In front of students or pupils of secondary level we were also talking about the different types and sub-types of HIV, which are all widespread in Africa, whereas in other continents only one type is dominating. With a high probability the origin of HIV lies in Africa.
[However, the last paragraph is very delicate and can offend people. In case of doubt we recommend to leave it out.]

What are the symptoms of a typical HIV infection? How can one identify a person living with HIV?
> Answer: An HIV test is the only possibility to be sure whether somebody is infected or not. AIDS is an immune deficiency syndrome that can basically be accompanied by all kinds of symptoms. Frequent symptoms are chronic diarrhoea, high loss of weight, long and continuous fever, tiredness and nightly sweating. These symptoms, however, have another cause, e.g. tuberculosis, which is not related to an HIV infection. Thus, these symptoms are not always the result of an HIV infection. [Eventually make stigmatisation the subject of discussion.]

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