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1 December, 2011
Being the face of HIV in India
Posted by BBC Media Action under Uncategorized | Tags: HIV/AIDS​, World AIDS Day |
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By Malika Malhotra
Rajkumar and Sweta were the first HIV positive couple to appear in Indian television advertisements (produced by the BBC World Service Trust) on HIV and AIDS related discrimination. That was in 2003-04.
On the eve of World AIDS Day 2011, sitting across us at the BBC WST’s office inDelhi, Rajkumar recounted how their lives changed after talking openly about being HIV positive on national television:
“At the time there was no free ART [anti retroviral therapy]. we had no money and our families couldn’t afford to help us either. ART cost 4000 rupees per person per month (approximately double monthly minimum wage).
“No one really understood the infection. In 2002 a doctor at a hospital in Delhi refused to give me injections because he was afraid he’d get infected. My father had to do it.
“We decided to do the advertisement. We thought we’d help people understand HIV and AIDS. This was our chance to earn some money as well. But after we did the ad, our landlord threw us out and our community disowned us.
“It was very difficult and we thought that we had made a big mistake. Then one of my friends, Ravi, having seen the ad and understood that he couldn’t contract the infection by touching or living with us, invited us to stay in his one bedroom flat with his family. Others soon began to come around.
“Many other HIV positive couples started coming forward to talk about their lives. They said the ad made them feel more hopeful about their lives. The ad made them feel like they were not alone and that help and support were available.
“So it was worth it. That’s what I keep thinking.”  (more…)
1 December, 2011
HIV and AIDS: Striving for zero in Nigeria
Posted by BBC Media Action under Uncategorized | Tags: Enhancing Nigeria's Response to HIV and Aids, HIV/AIDS​, World AIDS Day |
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By Esther Ijeaku
The number zero is often associated with regression and its negative consequences. To be called a zero would amount to being referred to as insignificant within certain Nigerian cultures. So it was interesting to see the theme for the 2011 World AIDS Day tagged “Getting to Zero”. The theme is in line with the UNAIDS vision of achieving zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.
Nigeria has an HIV prevalence of 4.1% according to the 2010 survey of women attending antenatal clinics. So the task of getting to zero seems like a huge undertaking.
Recent ENR research in seven Nigerian states on modes of transmission predicts that the majority of the new HIV infections will not be concentrated among the groups considered most at-risk. This could be because those groups – such as female sex workers and men who have sex with men – protect themselves. Instead infections are expected to be among heterosexuals in stable relationships – until recently considered a low risk group. They use no protection because they are faithful and trust their partners.
Knowledge of HIV issues is high but attitudes, behaviour and practice still need to change for this knowledge to make any difference.
Mass media is recognised as a critical and strategic tool that can significantly scale up prevention activities. Media can also spread misinformation, undoing other interventions.
As part of a wider project, Enhancing Nigeria’s Response (ENR) to HIV and AIDS, BBC WST has been leading a media-based response to HIV by producing radio and TV programmes and supporting media and NGO partners in seven states (Akwa Ibom, Benue, Cross River, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Lagos and Ogun).
In response to the findings on Modes of Transmission (MOT), we produced special editions of the radio magazine programme Flava Plus targeting the low risk population by dealing with issues within committed relationships.
When making programmes, the big challenge for us is to creatively identify issues behind the audience’s knowledgeable facade. In addressing stigma and discrimination we use positive stories that are balanced enough not to say “don’t!” but rather offer options of what to do.
From 2012 our national activities will begin to scale down. In preparation for sustaining the work, we will be increasing state-level support to producers. The objective is that the support partner stations will continue to receive will enhance their coverage of HIV as a social issue. They will then deliver messages through creative productions that will produce the changes to move their stations, andNigeria, closer to a zero.
Esther Ijeaku is a Project Manager with the BBC World Service Trust in Abuja.
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