Pink Slip was a Roopbaan initiative to raise awareness on sexual health and safety. The event brought together 58 homosexual men to get tested for STDs and HIV/AIDS besides general health checkup. But what made it unique is it targeted men from the middle income and above class who usually shy away from the government or donor-funded STD/ HIV testing facilities. This unique opportunity enabled them to get educated about their common sexual health queries, which left them highly grateful to the dynamic Roopbaan team behind the whole event.
Link Up, Marie Stopes, FHI 360 and ICDDR, B took part in this visionary event where they provided the much-needed logistic support with health care services. Greg Grey, International HIV/AIDS Alliance, and Ms. Katherine Tegenfeldt, Country Director, FHI 360 visited the venue and highly praised the courage and spirit of the participants and organizers. Starting from 2 pm., the health program successfully ended at 9 pm. Among the 58 attendees, 48 completed the full circle, which means they took part in all the segments). After taking a general and exposure history, the partakers were counseled for tests like Blood Group testing, RBS (Random Blood Sugar), HBsAg (antigen of hepatitis B virus) and RPR (Rapid Plasma Reagin to detect syphilis). These tests assured participants whether they have general health dilemmas like diabetes and STDs like hepatitis B, gonorrhea and syphilis.
After that, they were requested to go for VCT (Voluntary Counseling and Testing) for HIV. This session was conducted by ICDDR, B. After a one-to-one session with a counselor, participants went for the blood test. Though the number of participants was more than forty, the counselors took enough time to converse with individuals and discussed the ins and outs of HIV and AIDS. “I felt free to talk about my private issues, as the counselor dealt with me freely. He said our conversation would be confidential “, said one of the participants after coming out of the counseling room. Counselors gave the reports hand to hand.
Even for the ICDDR, B volunteer team for counseling, it was a new experience, as they got many counselees. One of the counselors said, “Yes, I am working on my off day, but I had no idea that there would be active participation of such huge number of young men. Truly, their consciousness has raised my spirit.”
However, not all the attendees took the HIV test. Some of them, who were sure that they had no such risk, joined the event to observe the program. One such attendee said, “I’ve come with my friend to see what’s going on here. I like the way everything is arranged. If Roopbaan authority organizes it regularly, I will surely take part next time. “On this issue, the creator and one of the volunteers of this successful event Xulhaz Mannan said, “We are so happy to see the large number of attendees. We hope to arrange more Pink Slip’s in near future.”