Sun, Aug 19, 2012 - Page 3 News List

AIDS organization ‘scares’ people into having safe sex

PETRIFY AND PREVENT:In lieu of grim lecturing, a HIV/AIDS prevention group has made a haunted house a fun way to teach people about a very serious issue

Staff Writer, with CNA

The Taiwan AIDS Foundation yesterday launched a haunted house to mark the annual Ghost Month on the lunar calendar, hoping to incorporate some fun into HIV/AIDS prevention education.

“We hope to teach people through games instead of textbooks,” foundation official Dawn Huang said.

Huang said that the rules of the activity require visitors entering the ghost house to have three things at hand to get past gatekeepers: condoms, lubricants and fingerdoms, or prophylactics for fingers.

However, the official refused to go into more detail for fear of spoiling the fun.

She did say that participants would be urged to ask any questions regarding safe sex because the main aim of the activity is to help people understand the transmission routes of HIV/AIDS using real-life situations.

Huang and her colleagues first got the idea to set up a haunted house last year. They then launched the event at their branch office in Hsinchu City in northern Taiwan during last year’s ghost month.

“The feedback [from attendees] was phenomenal,” Huang said, adding that some people even rated the house as one of the scariest they had seen.

More than 400 people are expected to visit the haunted house in Hsinchu this weekend, during the first few days of Ghost Month, which began on Friday. This is when, according to traditional Chinese beliefs, the Gates of Hell open to allow the spirits of the dead into the world of the living for a month of feasting.

The entrance fee is NT$150 and the proceeds will be used to fund HIV/AIDS prevention programs.

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