DRIVING ON EMPTY

Truck based HIV and AIDS Advocacy Initiative

HIV and AIDS remains a major development priority.

The pandemic affects all races, cultures and socio-economic groups directly and indirectly. Fuelled by poverty, illiteracy, demographics, (disproportionately affecting youth), prevailing gender disparities, social stigma, discrimination and weak health systems, the pandemic is now claiming more and more female and younger victims.

According to 2011 estimates from UNAIDS, WHO and UNICEF approximately 30.6 million adults and 3.4 million children were living with HIV at the end of 2010. During 2010, some 2.7 million people became infected with HIV, including an estimated 390,000 children.

AMAL Human Development Network with support from Direct Aid Program (DAP) - Australian High Commission implemented “DRIVING ON EMPTY - A Truck Art Based HIV and AIDS Prevention and Advocacy Initiative”, a research and truck art based advocacy project which aimed at investigating and understanding vulnerabilities of truck drivers to HIV and AIDS which places them, their sexual partners, spouses and unborn children at risk.

Research was conducted in Pir Vadhai and Tarnol, two major transportation hubs connecting various regions of Pakistan. Research interventions included a Knowledge, Attitude, Behavior and Practice (KABP) study as well as a series of In-depth interviews with truck drivers.

IMPACT

By implementing “Driving on Empty” AMAL gained an understanding of how conceptions of masculinity and other factors put truck drivers (and their sexual partners and un born children) at risk of contracting HIV and AIDS.

During the research process, AMAL remained sensitive to the needs and vulnerabilities of truck drivers to HIV and AIDS and other STIs. Awareness raising and sensitivity workshops were arranged to provide truck drivers and associated population with information and ways of safer sex practices, rights of the women, children and transgender, self awareness, basic health and hygiene, masculinities and gender based violence and prevention of HIV and AIDS. “Driving on Empty” has also initiated a dialogue between donors, government, academia and civil society on about HIV and AIDS programming through the lens of masculinity and engaging men and boys for ending violence against women, promoting gender equality and prevention of HIV and AIDS and other STIs.

In addition to this, “Driving on Empty” will influence future policy and has enabled AMAL to make recommendations about the research process and future projects.