Sunday, August 29, 2010

HIV/AIDS: Using "Dispatch: Zimbabwe" in HIV/AIDS Unit

One of my favorite units to teach is the HIV/AIDS and other STDs unit that is in our eighth grade health curriculum. I often supplement material contained in our curriculum with material from outside sources, because I find it a fascinating topic with so many things to bring to the classroom and add to the experiences of my students. I could spend the whole trimester on this one topic! The transmission simulation activity is perhaps the favorite in the eyes of my students, but I enjoy trying to get my students to see the big (global) picture with the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Last year I used two video resources during this unit, one from PBS Frontline which I use to show short clips about the beginning of HIV/AIDS.

The second resource comes from one of my favorite bands, Dispatch. Although the three members no longer play together, the band's impact is still felt throughout the way in which they reach out, globally, to help those less fortunate than them. Dispatch is huge on advocacy work, and the members frequently travel to other countries in order to help others.

In 2007, Dispatch reunited for a three performance stint at Madison Square Garden, and sold out each night. The benefit concerts, entitled "Dispatch: Zimbabwe" were designed to raise money to fight famine, disease, and charities in Zimbabwe. During the concert (and on the DVD of the concert) Dispatch created small vignettes about a variety of topics. One is entitled, "Health."

The "Health" vignette focuses on HIV/AIDS and its impact on a man named Eria. The five minute clip provides a nice introduction to the global issues of HIV/AIDS, although it does focus on how it is affecting Zimbabwe. I use it as an introduction to a class discussion on the global impact of the disease, in which I use some maps from organizations that are trying to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS.

I've embedded the video below.

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