HIV & Aids

“HIV and AIDS reveal a lot about the way we see ourselves, and the way we see others. The disease shines a light on our relationships, shows where they are strong, and where they are weak or broken down. And in doing so, it provides us an opportunity to mend those relationships, from the family level to the global level.”

– The Rev. Gideon Byamugisha, a Ugandan priest who has been living openly with HIV for many years.

A show about HIV and Aids in the workplace

A large part of the answer to the challenge posed by HIV and AIDS is found in our own perceptions. Basically, the way we understand the disease will determine what we will do about it. The spread of HIV has shown that knowledge is neither a deterrent nor an incentive to behaviour change. Perceptions need to change before people decide to protect themselves and their families, and support their colleagues living with the disease.

Some experience ‘AIDS fatigue’ while many experience fatigue from HIV, and fatigue from struggling to be treated fairly and equally. Many of us are numbed by impersonal statistics and assaulted by news headlines. Cost-benefit analyses often replace the development of innovative or compassionate responses. Sometimes the perception of management to the disease is weary, wary and cynical, when a compassionate, mature response can do much to galvanise a working community. In this sense, addressing the issue of HIV in the workplace is more than simply humane, it makes good business sense.

With some of our flagship productions focussing on HIV and testing, TakeAway has been close to the change in thinking behind the inclusion of HIV in the wellness paradigm, and not as a separate stand-alone issue, as commonly refelcted in an Aids Policy. We have developed a keen understanding of the implications of this shift, where HIV is now rightly regarded as a manageable chronic illness alongside others. However, perhaps a lack of focus on our troubling HIV infection rates has blunted our response to the pandemic.

That is why HIV usually remains at the centre of our wellness focus, and something which is very central to our working philosophy, of making a positive difference to the lives of others with our work.

One of the key tenets of our work is that humour transforms an audience. With a subject as fraught and challenging as HIV, humour has an even more important role. Especially in workplaces experiencing ‘Aids fatigue,’ humour can be used to change people’s perceptions of what the disease means to them – thus developing possibilities of behaviour change, as envisioned by the good Ugandan priest above…

TakeAWAY Theatre
TakeAway Theatre and Training est 2001