The annual leadership camp iCAN 2022 by Human Touch Foundation for adolescents living with HIV is underway at Raut Farm, Bicholim from 26-31 October 2022. The five-day-long residential intervention is offered each winter to adolescents living with HIV with 40 of them participating this year from Goa and Mangalore.
The camp attempts to address isolation and facilitate peer friendships, increase the knowledge and understanding of living with HIV, and improve confidence and self-esteem. Activities include creative workshops, sports, role play and advice on disclosure, and workshops on HIV transmission, sexual health and rights.
“Adolescents living with HIV face complex psychosocial concerns and require targeted, comprehensive services. Their needs are much more sensitive and varied than those of adults, as they must simultaneously deal with 'adult' issues like disclosure, practising safe sex and adhering to treatment, while also addressing issues traditionally associated with adolescence, such as body image, the first sexual experience, peer pressure and forming a personal identity,” said Pranab Barui, Psychosocial Wellbeing Lead at Human Touch Foundation.
Recognising that at any time an HIV diagnosis is difficult, nonetheless for teens starting their adult life, there is a need to intervene and support them in adhering to complex drug regimens, as they feel overwhelmed and victimised by the stigma of HIV.
“The adolescents face unprecedented developmental challenges with HIV. They face complex realities in life and significant obstacles in education and security that hinder their overall well-being and stability while blossoming in life with expectations of a prosperous future. Thus, Human Touch Foundation has specifically tailored interventions,” says Applesta Da Costa, Head of Operations at Human Touch.
This year the camp is powered by Youth LEAD with GKB Hi-Tech Lenses and Karma Group as associated sponsors and support from individual donors from the state.