The popular Brazilian comic book, Monica’s Gang, has two new characters: Igor and Vitória. The characters were developed by the Friends of Life Association (Associação Amigos da Vida) in partnership with Maurício de Souza Studios, the creators of the comic series. The new characters were introduced to demystify HIV and AIDS and thereby combat the prejudice and discrimination against children who have the disease. They help the comic book explain how the virus works and how it’s transmitted, addressing important issues of living with the disease and the social impact of the disease. The free special edition of the comic book will be distributed in public elementary schools across Brazil in order to teach not only students but their parents and guardian about AIDS.

BrazilFoundation, which awarded a grant to Friend of Life this year, was present at the release party for the comic book, which took place on December 3rd in Rio de Janeiro at the Banco do Brasil’s Cultural Center.  Maurício de Souza, the creator of Monica’s Gang, was present at the event and signed a number of copies of the comic for his fans.

Friends of Life works to fight against prejudice and forms of discrimination experienced by those who live with the AIDS virus. The organization offers legal assistance to victims of discrimination and their family members. In addition, it offers social services to those who have become orphans due to the disease.

4. Amigos da Vida