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The Amazing Race: Moving Towards new HIV Prevention Methods

This event is part of the 2011 Let’s Talk HIV Prevention series sponsored by the Enterprise. For more information about these events, click here.

City, Country:  Johannesburg, South Africa

 Organization Hosting Event:  Wits Institute for Reproductive Health & HIV (WRHI)

 Organization’s website:  www.rhru.co.za

 Date/Time:  Tuesday, 17 May 2011 / 09:00 – 14:00               

 Location (facility name and address):  WRHI (formerly RHRU and ECHO), located in Hillbrow, an inner-city suburb of Johannesburg.

 Event Report (submitted by the hosting organization):

“The Amazing Race” aimed to facilitate meaningful dialogue between community members, clinicians, trial staff and HIV

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prevention experts through innovative and interactive activities around HIV prevention research. It educated and deepened the understanding of the local community and Wits Reproductive Health & HIV Institute (WRHI) staff including peer educators, community outreach staff, researchers and counsellors around how scientific research is conducted.

Fifty-three participants and staff facilitators attended the event which started out with an overview of HIV Vaccine Awareness Day and subsequent group break out activities. The activities included a range of educational games around ARV-based prevention, TB and HIV integration, HIV vaccines and clinical trials. Borrowing from the television show, The Amazing Race, the participants moved between buildings and rooms in their teams from one ‘station’ to the next. Each ‘station’ was hosted by an expert in that field where participants had to take part in different games.

Participants spent approximately 30 minutes at each activity. At the clinical trial station, there was an interactive ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire?’ style game-show that participants were divided into two teams for. A co-expert was responsible for tallying up the ‘cash’ won by each team during the game. Although no cash prizes were given, participants did win mobile phone airtime vouchers and local grocery store vouchers.

Other games included a silent ‘True or False’ game and a ‘Myths and Facts’ game. Answering questions such as ‘is there an AIDS vaccine?’ and ‘what is a placebo?’ created debate between participants, many of whom were hearing about the issues raised for the first time. Dialogue was encouraged and participants shared their experiences with other team members.

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Each participant was given an “Amazing Race Passport” in which they received a stamp after the successful completion of each activity. Prizes were awarded throughout the event. A final presentation was given by an IAVI representative on the current state of HIV vaccine development, which was followed by audience questions.

The participant feedback was very positive and requests were made for similar events to be held on a more regular basis. Information was handed out to participants to enable them to continue their learning process about these key areas. All participants were also informed about different services offered in the Hillbrow Health Precinct which they were encouraged to utilize.

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