How I Became a Volunteer

My experience demonstrates that simple rules can protect us from STIs and HIV!

The name of our hero is Rustam, but this is not his real name, because he doesn’t want anyone to know his real identity. The story of Rustamom from Khorog begins when he flew to Moscow. 

Two years ago, Rustam finished university, but for more than a year he was unable to find work in his native city. Considering his options carefully, Rustam decided to go to the Russian federation to find work.

“Before leaving for Moscow, I had been told many times that there are organizations which provide information sessions on the prevention of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases for labor migrants and their families. However, I had never paid much attention.

Leaving for Moscow, our hero became emerged in the life and temptations of the metropolis. “I thought that my behavior did not pose a threat to me and I thought no one had a right to tell me how to behave. Nevertheless, I came down with a sexually transmitted disease, as I never used a condom.”

Rustam learned that he had this disease upon his return to Khorog. By chance, he ended up in an information session of the Civil Society Support Center “Kalam” and he understood that he needed to seek the assistance of a friendly center for migrants.

Becoming friends with outreach workers from the Civil Society Support Center “Kalam,” he learned more not only about sexually transmitted diseases but also about HIV. “Finally, I understood that in order for me to be healthy, it is important to be informed. I decided to become a volunteer with the Civil Society Support Center “Kalam.” I want to help young people to avoid the mistake I made by not being informed about how one can protect oneself from sexually transmitted diseases,” Rustam said.

Since 2005, the Civil Society Support Center “Kalam,” with support from UNDP who is a principal recipient of the Global Fund to Fight Against AIDs, Tuberculosis, and Malaria and the International Organization for Migration, has trained close to 300 volunteers to conduct information campaigns on STI and HIV protection in the Khorog region.