Prevention, Resilience, Knowledge: advancing the way our society deals with HIV/Aids.

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Prevention, Resilience, Knowledge: advancing the way our society deals with HIV/Aids.

Text by: Natalie Haas

Category: Social Innovation

Photos by: Aids Hilfe Wien

On December 1st 1997, the "Aids Hilfe Haus" opened it's doors for the very first time. Since then it has become a space that educates and raises awareness around aids, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, enables prevention and fights discrimination. Today, the house is a symbol of solidarity with people living with HIV and AIDS and their loved ones and a central place for advice, testing and prevention.
The Aids Hilfe Haus works with people from all different generations and backgrounds. They give workshops in schools and publicly, engage in events and raise awareness to inform and break down stereotypes. They offer testings and counselling for people affected and are leaders in guiding the way towards a world that understands better how to prevent and live with HIV/aids.
"More than 4,000 people use the free and anonymous test program offered by Aids Hilfe Wien every year, It is important to be well informed, to make one's own behaviour safe and to be tested regularly." says Wolfgang Wilhelm, chairman of the Aids Hilfe Wien.
Ignorance is fatal and enlightenment still necessary, one has to "educate new generations and remind old generations," says Wilhelm. AIDS is now a chronic disease and HIV is no longer a deadly virus. Worldwide, approximately 36.7 million people are living with HIV / AIDS. The number of new infections and deaths is falling, while more and more people are receiving permanent HIV therapy. Those who are HIV-positive, regularly take medication and respond to therapy, are not infectious and therefore can not pass on the virus. HIV-positive people no longer need special treatment. Above all in the medical field, more information is needed. "A normal approach, hygienic as usual, is completely sufficient to effectively prevent an infection."
This institution is more than a support basis for people suffering from aids or a HIV testing place. In the Aids Hilfe Haus in Vienna, the way we think and what we know is actually being advanced, the way we deal with the issue improved and real inclusion enhanced. This is a place for real prevention and a space to talk openly and honestly about what is really important.
The idea behind "Vollpension" is way more than to offer delicious homemade cakes from granny's secret recipes. This social entrepreneurship promotes inter-generational dialogue, fosters inclusion of old people living in the urban space and gives their employees a chance to earn additional income instead of letting them fall into ageing poverty.