Theatre-media can help dispel myths around HIV/AIDS

"If theatre and media join hands I am sure that they will be able to shatter many myths that abound in society about AIDS," this is what Ms Tripurari  Sharma, associate director, National School of Drama (NSD) said while addressing media persons at 'Media for Children' –a capacity building session organized by Media Nest with support of UNICEF at UP Press Club on Saturday, 14 August 2010. Read more

Ms Sharma has scripted and directed a play 'shafa' on social stigma associated with people living with HIV (PLHIV) and affected communities. This one and half hour play will be staged in six places in UP where the Red Ribbon Express (RRE) will halt. The first city where this play will be staged will be Allahabad on August 28.

"Shafa  based on the real lives of people living with HIV (PLHIV) aims at sensitizing society against prevailing myths. It focuses on the fact that discrimination kills the PLHIV's zeal to live. They lose faith in themselves and their dear ones if they are shunned by society.  It is time that society realized its responsibility towards PLHIV," said Ms Sharma who teaches theatre at NSD and has been engaged by UNICEF for this play.

"AIDS does not spread with touch nor is it only contracted through sexual relations. One can get AIDS simply during getting an unsafe blood transfusion. That is why it is important that we teach everyone, especially the young and naïve the dangers they are surrounded with. Care and prevention will help them lead a safe life," she said.

Dr Ashok Shukla, joint director Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society ( UPSACS),  was the other resource person at this  media sensitization session which focused on the Red Ribbon Express (RRE). RRE is a broad based multimedia, multi-sectoral mass mobilization national campaign to mainstream the issue of HIV/AIDS. Phase I of this project was carried out in 2007-08 by the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) and the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation in collaboration with UNICEF and a large number of partners. Phase II is being implemented by NACO currently. Train will cover 25000 kms with halts at 160 stations.

"RRE entered Uttar Pradesh, initially at Chopan in Son Bhadra district on 17 July, 2010 and later return through Allahabad on 29th August 2010 and will remain in U.P. till 10th October 2010 with a trip to Uttarakhand (2nd – 6th October, 2010). It will halt at 17 stations in UP," informed Dr Shukla..

Kulsum Mustafa
(The author is a senior journalist, and also the Secretary of Media Nest

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