Dilbar YASEN

HIV prevention advocate

About This Project

My name is Dilbar Yasen. I have been working in the field of HIV prevention for over 20 years. Looking back, most of my knowledge and experience can be traced back to development cooperation between China and Australia.

 

In 1995, I was assigned to be part of a peer education training course for HIV prevention in Indonesia by the Xinjiang Health Department. There, I was introduced to HIV-related participatory training methods. I had the opportunity to meet and learn from my international peers, including Australians. This experience had a huge impact on me.

 

After returning to China, I launched many HIV prevention projects, including the first peer education program for youth in Xinjiang, and trained many young workers in Xinjiang and Yunnan.

 

In 2002, I participated in the China-Australia Xinjiang HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care Project and worked with colleagues in Australia and China to help a number of government bodies in Xinjiang design and implement HIV intervention programs. Gradually I have become a veteran HIV prevention advocate in Xinjiang, and made many Australian friends along the way. I was very grateful to receive a full scholarship from the Ford Foundation for my community work, which allowed me to pursue a Master of Public Health at the University of Melbourne. After graduating in 2007, I returned to China and continued to work as a health promotion consultant for the China-Australia Xinjiang HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care Project for 18 months, seeing the project through to completion.

 

Through my work and study, I have gained a deep understanding of the vulnerability of women to HIV, and the ways women living with HIV face social discrimination. I wanted to establish a discrimination-free clinic in Xinjiang, so that we could provide services for women living with HIV, as well as their children. Based on this idea, my colleague Dr Kim Wheeler, former head of China-Australia Xinjiang HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care Project, and I established a Care Centre in Urumqi in 2012. To date, the Centre has provided services to 400 women.

 

Although we cannot eliminate the problem of discrimination towards people living with HIV, or relieve the burden of poverty, we can help women who visit the Care Centre to cope with their situation with a positive attitude, and empower them to better contribute to their families and society.

 

Dilbar Yasen is Manager and Founder of the Kuklem Care Centre for Women Affected by HIV, Urumqi.

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