in my former workplace, we used to have this cynical, a tad trite, but very practical adage – every day is World AIDS Day!
however, since the whole world doesn’t talk, breathe and think HIV every waking moment, it may be a good idea to shout about it as much as you can at least on that one day so people get the general drift! : )
I know hiv is seriously hyped, and theres a lot of shady stuff happening, but I think its still important that we talk about it for these reasons (im looking only at the Indian scene)
- hiv now accounts for the largest disease burden in India – yeah, it outweighs even diarrhoea and tb (though tb is fuelled by higher hiv rates)
- for us to seriously check the spread of hiv in India, we would we have to look very honestly at the way we live. it calls for huge but fundamental socio-economic reforms.
if we pull if off, millions of people could lead better lives, not just because theyre at lower risk of hiv, but because so many societal factors working against them have been reduced or eradicated.
- after Africa, weve the biggest hiv population in the world. most of the media speaks about the African scene and ignores the situation here. we could still avoid the disaster that the African scene has become, but the last seconds are ticking. I don’t see the point in waiting for the disaster to happen and then talking about it: if we could rope in our all powerful entertainment industry and so on, we may be able to work magic.
but it all starts small, so im going back to small campaigns: a poster on the office notice board, distributing pamphlets on infection modes, testing and protection at colleges, screening a documentary – stuff like that.
when I organised a campaign last year, I had hell finding materials, so this early post is for anyone who is enthusiastically trying to organise an awareness program (and please don’t break my heart saying you know no one like that!) but not knowing where to start. its also to beg you guys to pleeeease at least wear a red ribbon on December 1st. theres bound to be someone wholl ask why youre wearing the darn thing, and idle curiosity is a good enough opening! :d
ok. to business. last year’s theme was fabulous – “have you heard me today?”the focus was on women and their greater risk of HIV infection. the posters were absolutely stunning – they made their point very crisply and non - controversially. you could still use them. if you are planning a serious campaign, and need say, 100 or more posters, write to WAC and tell them your plan in detail.
this year’s theme is “make the promise”. it’s a gentle kick in the pants to remind countries of their pledge to stop the spread of hiv, so it seems to me a cause well worth supporting! ;) you can get the posters online and print them if youre only looking at A4 sizes - theyre available here.
you can get a country-wise break up of the statistics – prevalence rates, mortality and morbidity rates, deaths, new infections and blah – from the UNAIDS report. its available online for free, and you should be able to get it from any NGO that works with HIV as well.
that simple thing – the red ribbon. the best option would be to round up a team (feed ‘em well!) and make the ribbons yourselves, but if youre talking bulk again – like in 1000s of ribbons, these folks may help you out with free ribbons. they were very friendly when I approached them, and extremely generous. the beaded propositions require a very generous budget and an assurance of people willing to buy them! plus you need to give whoevers making it a lot of time, so I wouldn’t recommend them for last minute campaigns and student affairs!
vinyl posters are nice: if you get permission to hang them from somewhere, you can make some really decent ones at quite reasonable rates, with your own captions. these can be neutrally worded without the year on them anywhere, so you can recycle! (yesh, that’s experience talking! :D)
if youd like to start a discussion – and that is really fabulous stuff, you can find a whole lot of fabulous resources on the net, starting from the avert site. the documentary by mondofragilis is very light stuff, very easily understood, features women of different countries speaking (theres an Indian/Pakistani woman as well) about simple issues.IMHO, this documentary cannot be a stand alone feature: it needs a follow up chat. its good if you don’t want to get into the heavy stuff or don’t have that much time allocated for your discussions. I wrote to them and they even sent us free copies (yaay freebies!) so you may get equally lucky or get discounts if youre from a student body or something.
if you want testing information for India, please email me and ill try and unearth the lists to pass on to you. if you want intervention programs, a quick talk, or someone to support you when you talk about facts and issues involved with HIV, these people are in madras. i think in delhi you could try the Naz foundation.
finally, I had also written to benetton because I love toscani’s work on their ad campaign. I mentioned the condom series in particular and asked if they could let me have prints of their posters. would you believe they really did?! stunning people – long live!
the miscellaneous tidbits: saathii is a site that gives you hoards of organisations contacts as well as which area they primarily work in. unifem sometimes has posters in regional languages. UNAIDS has this list of resources as well. i dont know if this one will help, but its supposed to be mtv's effort.
Labels: feminist issues