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World AIDS Day 2010: The epic battle against evil ninjas

December 1, 2010


Today is World AIDS Day. And to celebrate, I am going to educate you.

You, and a class of 7th graders at The American School of Kinshasa, which probably includes my boss’ son.

I was asked by a friend who works at the school if someone from CDC could to come and be a guest speaker for World AIDS Day.  I said yes.

Now, obviously you are plenty mature enough to handle a potentially uncomfortable topic such as HIV/AIDS (right?!).  But what about a class of 12 and 13 year-olds?

If I remember correctly from when I was that age, they can be pretty squirmy when it comes to topics that incorporate a discussion on “sexual fluids”.

More than that, I’m pretty sure that when I was in school, we didn’t have Sex Ed until 8th grade.  And since it’s pretty difficult to talk about HIV without mentioning sex… hmm, I decided that this might be more difficult of a task than I originally thought.

So, I went straight to the Googling.  Side note: somehow the internet filter on my CDC office computer is set to block sites that fall under the category of “sex education”.  Really, guys?

Despite the over-zealous internet filter, I came across a true gem in HIV/AIDS education.

TeachAIDS is a nonprofit, founded at Stanford University, that works on creating research-based, medically accurate, and culturally specific tools for HIV/AIDS prevention education, provided for free under a creative commons license.

Namely, they make cartoons.

They make good cartoons, with HIV showing up as an evil ninja with a deadly ninja star, which it hurls at CD4 T-cells (which show up as army generals) in order to assassinate them.

No joke.  It is just that awesome.

Check out the full animation here.  Really.  You must watch it.  It is required of you for World AIDS Day today, and besides, it will be good for your health (laughter=good, HIV prevention knowledge=really good!).

Here’s a little teaser:

T-Cells vs. Evil HIV Ninjas

Evil HIV Ninjas

Assassination of a T-Cell by ninja star

As incredibly amusing as I think this cartoon is, I also think that it is brilliantly done.  It’s even available in other languages (Hindi, Spanish, Kinyarwandan and Mandarin).  It is incredibly important to have prevention education tools like this that can actually reach your audience, otherwise it might be a waste of time… or worse, might even reinforce misconceptions surrounding HIV.

And what 7th grader wouldn’t appreciate a nice epic battle of good vs. evil?!?

I suppose I’ll find out the answer to that later today.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Aunt Melodee permalink
    December 5, 2010 3:13 am

    Ok, I did a poll (well, Uncle Jim and Robbie) and the HIV virus guys look just like purple bumpy Garfields! What’s up with that???? But then again, the CD4 T cell Army Chief looks like purple Garfield with a green moustache and purple beret…it’s all about the Garfield!
    It’s not completely confirmed, but Uncle Jim’s band is likely to be playing at the Eagles Aerie (yes, aerie) on 4th Street on New Years Eve, hopefully everyone will be able to go. We’ll keep you posted. Can’t wait to see you!

    • Katie R permalink*
      December 13, 2010 10:31 pm

      It’s like the eternal struggle between Garfield and Odie!

      That would be awesome to see the band! Can’t wait to see you all, too.

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