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Braids Not AIDS
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Braids Not AIDS
Tackling HIV and AIDS in the developing world mean tailoring responses to the specific needs of each country and of the groups most vulnerable to AIDS. In Zimbabwe, hairdressers are trained to give advice on safe sex and the benefits of using female condoms through a program funded by the UK's Department for International Development.
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Produced by Chris Morgan and the Department for International Development.

A production of Straight Line Films.

Find out more about DFID's work on HIV and AIDS.

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Segment 1

VOICEOVER
As the economy in Zimbabwe begins to recover after years of chronic mismanagement and hyperinflation, there are also encouraging signs of a decrease in HIV prevalence. In a country where over one million children have been orphaned by AIDS, now an innovative HIV prevention program is showing remarkable success by using hairdressers to teach their female customers the facts about HIV and AIDS. But in a country with a collapsed medical infrastructure, the burden of HIV and AIDS is massive. There are around 60,000 deaths from AIDS each year, and an estimated 1,200 new infections each week. Experts in Zimbabwe say prevention through behavior change is the key to managing the spread of the disease.
KUMBIRAI CHATORA [PSI Zimbabwe Deputy Country Director]
When we talk about behavior change, the key word there is changing. Changing from what you used to do to a new behavior. We want people to adopt safer sexual behaviors. It could be condom use, it could be knowing your status, it could be having fewer partners. All that for us is behavior change, anything that you do to protect yourself from HIV infection.
VOICEOVER
But in a male-dominated society like Zimbabwe, reaching women with the correct information and empowering them to make decisions can be difficult.
WENDY TAKUNDWA-BANDA [DFID Zimbabwe HIV Program Manager]
Generally women are the more vulnerable sex, and when it comes to making decisions related to sexual health, men are the dominant character. So women don't have much say.
VOICEOVER
As a result, 60 percent of all people living with HIV in Zimbabwe are women. Dorothy Nyamukapa is a hairdresser in Kuwadzana, a low-income high-density suburb of the capitol Harare. Dorothy is one of 1,500 hairdressers that have been trained as an HIV peer educator in a program run by Population Services International and funded by the UK's Department for International Development.
DOROTHY NYAMUKAPA
Because I am a woman it is very simple for me to approach them. I ask her which family planning she uses. When she told me, I started to introduce them to "Care."
VOICEOVER
In this way, hairdressers like Dorothy have sold over three million female condoms in the last six years, preventing thousands of new HIV infections. Barbra Nyandika, a regular at the salon, began using the female condom with her husband Obit two years ago.
BARBRA NYANDIKA
I went to my husband and told him about female condoms. Then he said I have to bring it so that he can see it. Then I have to introduce it to him and he said that it is very nice, that we have to continue using it.
VOICEOVER
This initiative is spreading across Zimbabwe. Sylvester Nzaras runs a barbershop from his backyard in the commuter town of Chitungwiza, south of Harare. Here, men are also being exposed to the prevention message and the benefits of condom use. While huge challenges remain in Zimbabwe, the success of programs like this has contributed to a significant decline in HIV prevalence, a drop from over 24 percent to less than 14 percent over the last six years.
TITLE
To find out more, please visit: www.dfid.gov.uk