Home / Politics / News /  Revisiting promises as World AIDS Day 2007 observed

New Delhi: The observance of World AIDS Day typically involves marches, candle light vigils, prayer meetings, awareness workshops, formation of human chains, release of various campaigns, films, ad spots and publications and new initiatives.

It is a way of reiterating the commitment of NGOs, CBOs, faith leaders, celebrities, socialites, social activists and governments as they join hands to fight AIDS in their communities.

Ashley Judd traces her India journey

Miditech, a Delhi-based production house has put a face on millions of Indians living with HIV-AIDS through a 45-minute documentary on AIDS - “India’s Hidden Plague: Ashley Judd’s Journey." She teams up with Bollywood stars Shah Rukh Khan, Sushmita Sen and Akshay Kumar to move from brothels and slums in Mumbai to truck stops in Jaipur and affluent communities in Delhi, exploring the AIDS epidemic in the country.

The stories are gritty and heart warming and the film which will be telecast today, is available for livemint readers. Actress Ashley Judd, HIV/AIDS Ambassador, in India66723bb2-9fcf-11dc-be80-000b5dabf636.flv

Actress Ashley Judd, HIV/AIDS Ambassador, in India (Courtesy - YouTube)

Bollywood pitches in with creative spots and films

Having the world’s third biggest caseload of people living with HIV/AIDS, Bollywood directors Mira Nair, Santosh Sivan, Farhan Akhtar and Vishal Bhardwaj have stepped forward to make four short films scheduled for screening today. These would be released across theatres and also on the video-sharing Web site ‘YouTube’ in February.Celebrity endorsements, campaigns and street marches mark WAD 2007054db23a-a001-11dc-be80-000b5dabf636.flv

Celebrity endorsements, campaigns and street marches mark WAD 2007

Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, they are the brainchild of Mira Nair, director, The Namesake’.

Numerous organizations, industry chambers and community groups have in their own way found ingenious ways of pariticipating in the movement.

Mumbai Dabbawallas to distribute ‘AIDS kits’

Apart from their customers’ daily lunch, the famed dabbawalas will deliver today awareness kits on AIDS and HIV to one lakh office-goers. The kits include a car calender and pamphlet on counseling and testing for HIV and a red ribbon. Organized by Health Communication Partnership at John Hopkins University in the U.S, along with the dabbawalas, it encourages access, counseling and testing services for HIV, free of cost, at government hospitals.

Rock group Queen to release new single

Their first new recording in 10 years, this would be available free on their Web site. The rock group, including its new frontman Paul Rodgers, recorded the new song, “Say It’s Not True," to mark World AIDS Day on Saturday. Freddie Mercury, Queen’s famous lead vocalist, died of an AIDS-related illness in 1991.

“By making the song available for free, we hope to help Nelson Mandela with his campaign to get across the message that no one is safe from infection," Queen’s drummer Roger Taylor added, “We have to be aware, we have to protect ourselves and those we love." He said the song follows the line of Mandela’s personal message: “It’s in our own hands to bring a stop to this."

Global vigil for AIDS orphans begins in Toronto

Christopher Wachira couldn’t help but think of 9-year-old Hamisi Kombo as the names of 360 children, orphaned as a result of AIDS, were read out at Toronto’s CN Tower on 29November, 2007.

The Kenyan boy, who is HIV-positive, has seen his parents, and two subsequent sets of caregivers die from AIDS. “He’s being taken care of by his grandmother now," Wachira, a World Vision programme manager in Kenya said as an international vigil to mark World AIDS Day kicked off in Toronto.

The global vigil will feature reading names of 6,000 orphans, symbolizing the number of children who lose a parent daily because of AIDS. From Toronto, the event moves westward to 17 cities around the globe, including San Salvador, Auckland, and Seoul before finishing in New York on 30November.

Pope calls for increased efforts to fight spread of AIDS

Pope Benedict XVI has called for intensified efforts to stop the spread of the HIV virus, saying he felt “spiritually close" to those suffering from AIDS.

“I am asking all people of goodwill to multiply efforts to stop spread of HIV, to oppose scorn that often strikes those affected and to care for the sick, especially children," Benedict told his weekly public audience on the eve of WAD. “I am spiritually close to those who suffer as a result of this terrible illness as well as to their families, in particular those struck by the loss of a close relative," he added.

Fighting hunger in countries devastated by HIV/AIDS

U.N food agency said that reducing hunger in poor countries was key to fighting AIDS and other infectious diseases. Hunger and disease create a vicious cycle, as famished people are more likely to fall victim to infectious and chronic diseases, which reduces their ability to provide food for themselves and their family.

Malnutrition makes recovery difficult, inspite of medication being available. The international community must take care to couple medical help with food aid, the agency said in its “World Hunger Series" report for 2007.

U.S company to launch online ‘safe sex passport’

The world’s first “safe sex passport," aimed especially for users of dating and social networking websites, will be launched this week in U.S. Available, at a cost, to anyone over the age of 18 who goes online and orders the credit-card-size article, it will facilitate testing for five major STDs in a recognized laboratory.

Card holders will be tested for HIV, genital herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. Nearly 15,000 people and several dating websites have expressed interest with maximum querries being from 27- 47 year olds. While the criticism is that this may encourage sexual freedom, the promoters feel it is better to be aware and protected rather than foolish, careless and infected!

With additional inputs from livemint

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