By Olayinka Latona
In order to check or eliminate the taboo associated with the social vulnerability of People Living With HIV/AIDS in Nigeria and to signify a major landmark in the campaign against HIV/AIDS,Â Mannerism Communications (MACOM) in conjunction the body of People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWA) and the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA)is hosting the first ever â€œMiss Positive, Nigeria â€œbeauty pageant.
The contest is unique as it is aimed at developing a national movement for an intensiveÂ awareness campaign against HIV/AIDS stigmatisation with primary focus on youths and adolescents.
The event is scheduled for November 23- 28, 2009. Suzan Olori, Project Manager, noted that the eventual winner will reign for one year and will be responsible for executing a HIV/AIDS project in several communities in Nigeria.
Project Director, Mr. Ojo Martins, told Good Health Weekly that the Miss Positive beauty pageant seeks to promote openness, an active lifestyle and tolerance for PLWA in all spheres of life. He said the beauty contest is going to involve both HIV/AIDS positive and negative women, aged 18- 28.
â€œThis contest is going to be an annual event. Our aim is to promote openness and active life styles for those infected and thereby sensitise the populace. The avenue will also provide a unique opportunities for brands to come-up close with the general public through their corporate social responsibilities.â€
Apart of the essence of Miss Positive beauty pageant, Ojo said the event is also about networking with PLWA. â€œMiss Positive is beyond gathering of people and telling them about HIV/AIDS or advising them to use condoms. Rather it is coming out to tell the world that I am positive and how do the people protect me and my interest? It is different from other approach or what we are used to.
â€œIt is an approach where anybody that is positive is proud and once he or she knows that he will not be stigmatised, it will be easier for such person to live an open life.