Vlad Darwin lead the 2013 European HIV testing week under the slogan “Talk HIV. Test HIV.”
While the Ukrainian government and politicians were fixated on the question of the necessity of European integration for Ukraine, the topic that marked the last week in Europe virtually escaped the attention of the Ukrainian mass media. From November 25 to December 2, all the European countries united their efforts and expertise in the worldwide fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic.They called this period of time the 2013 European HIV testing week.
The songwriter and performer Vlad Darwin, who has been a UN Red Ribbon envoy to Ukraine since summer 2012, joined the discussion on the issue from the Ukrainian perspective. Darwin, having had diplomatic skills since his time at university, managed to partake in the activities dedicated to the European HIV testing week in three countries and their capitals in just 7 days: Minsk (Belarus), his native Kiev, and Chisinau (Moldova).
In Minsk, the singer had a roundtable discussion on ways to combat HIV with the representatives of the Ministry of Youth Policy and Sports of the Republic of Belarus, the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Belarus, the mass media and representatives of UNAIDS in Minsk. He also held a meeting with students of the Medical University about preventative measures and had a discussion with the head representative of the UN in Belarus. One of the most effective events was a meeting with the UN Red Ribbon envoys from other European countries. Vlad Darwin explained and translated the meaning of the slogan “Talk HIV. Test HIV.” to those that did not understand English.
“In European countries, tests for HIV have long stopped being viewed as a shameful taboo, but rather have come to be seen as a way to express love towards your partner and a social norm. Be European! Test for HIV! European integration starts with self-awareness.” he said. Red Ribbon Envoys – performing artists from various countries – held discussions with the print media of Minsk. They had a few live broadcasts and talked about ways of preventing HIV infections and the importance of HIV testing.
After the busy days spent in Belarus, Vlad Darwin travelled to Chisinau. There, together with the singer DARA, he partook in a grand concert dedicated to December 01, World AIDS Day. Vlad shared his observations on the current situation in Ukraine with the representatives of media and met once again with the HIV-positive community.
After returning to Ukraine, singer and songwriter Vlad Darwin, in his social networks, called upon everyone to start making changes in themselves and their attitude toward others by testing for HIV. This can be done in Ukraine anonymously and free of charge.