You are here: Home Features New ways to talk about HIV/AIDS
New ways to talk about HIV/AIDS

Dec 01, 2012

As the world heralds the reduction in deaths by HIV/AIDS, there is a need to get the message across in different ways. From ICTs for development to comic books, to colourful vans running across the city, people find new ways to talk about AIDS.

As the World Aids Day draws to a close, the question remains; on why is HIV such a taboo still? Why is a disease which killed upto 1.7 million people in the year 2011 itself, still put under the wraps and is shied away from being a topic of discussion? As experts and NGOs who work in the field relate, most efforts of eradicating the disease are defeated due to the unwillingness of communities to talk about it. Bu many have found new innovative ways of tackling this tendency of communities to be ostriches-with-their-head-in-the-sand.

Freedom HIV/AIDS is such a unique initiative. Established in 2005, founder Hilma Quraishi started spreading awareness through games on mobile phones. Quraishi gives an example of a pilot he did in Sahranpur, a small town in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh in India. Quarashi recalls how in the workshop the Muslim girls were hesitant to talk about anything related to sexual activities, leave lane HIV. But when asked to go into an enclosure and play the game, they were much more accessible and felt the game gave the privacy and knowledge at the same time.

The first game Quraishi made was based on cricket. An easy and intelligent choice, as nothing could work better in a cricket-crazy country like India. In. The first year of release, the game saw 7 million downloads, and within the next five years to come Quraishi would reach around 31 million users across India and Africa where his model was adopted. As Quraishi says, his intention was to take out the taboo out of HIV/AIDS.

Such initiatives are not only unique but signal an attempt at a more targeted intervention where propaganda of the issue of HIV/AIDS is concerned. Recently, Bluewater Productions released the digital version of its comic book Lost Raven. the book drawn is the story of attorney Zak Raven who embarks on a mission of relaxation after he gets to know he is HIV positive. Davis, the author of the book explains the motivatin behind his story, "i wrote this book because I wanted to make a difference in the HIV world and most of the movies and books were about people dying. I wanted to tell it from the other side, the person that manages it from a living perspective.

The days of the camps and door-to-door calling are numbered in many ways. The way to go is targeted and ensuring people get their privacy. Back in 2009, a professor in the Union Territotry of Chandigarh embarked on a mission of his own to spread th word on AIDS. Panjab University (PU) lecturer in Social Work Gaurav Gaur had painted his Maruti-800 in bright colours and written awareness slogans all over it, transforming it into the only one of its kind "knowledge disseminating unit" about AIDS. H wnet all arond te city distributing pamphlets and condoms to ensure the people from this middle class city, who typically shy from discussing such things get the message.

The potential of alternative mediums to be a way of educating people about HIV is immense. The use of ICTS and out-of-the-box ways like comics might just help in reaching a wider audience. For the creators of these mediums and messages, it is all about removing the stigma and taboo from HIV. for the only way to ensure new infections don't arise, is to educate the younger generation of the perils of this killer disease.

Most Read
Most Shared
You May Like


Jobs at OneWorld









CRFC: Toll free number


Global Goals 2030
Events Calendar
Leveraging SDGs to drive Socio-Economic Development: Mission 2030 Mar 22, 2018 - Mar 23, 2018 — Amity University Campus, Noida, Uttar Pradesh
View more events >>
OneWorld South Asia Group of Websites