BBC, Prasar Bharati, NACO join hands to combat AIDS menace in India

A campaign to ward off the AIDS epidemic in India was flagged off on 2 July by the BBC World Service Trust, the NGO arm of the BBC World Service, in partnership with Prasar Bharati and the National AIDS Control Organisation. 

Claiming that this is the world's most intensive broadcast campaign, the BBC says that for the next 10 months, the partnership will transmit: 

- A detective drama 'Jasoos Vijay'. It will air thrice a week on regional Doordarshan stations, with an omnibus edition on DD National 

- A weekly youth show called 'Haath Se Haath Milaa' 

- 'Chat Chowk' which will be a weekly radio phone-in 

In addition to the above, social advertising spots will run three times every day on television and radio for the duration of the campaign. The USP of the project is that it uses the popular medium of entertainment to convey information and combat prejudice about AIDS, an official release informs.

The two-year project is funded by the Department for International Development, the British Government's aid ministry, as part of their much larger commitment to combating AIDS in India. The BBC project is budgeted at 4 million (about Rs 260 million). The campaign will stress the need for protection and safe sex and will aim to increase knowledge and awareness and generate more informed opinion. At the same time, it aims at enhancing life skills in communication, negotiation and advocacy by challenging practices and stigma and discrimination.

The NACO-Prasar Bharati-BBC World Service Trust partnership will raise AIDS awareness in the low prevalence states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan. By promoting behaviour change, including condom use, in these states, the objective is to contain the epidemic before it takes hold. In return for programming, production funds, training and workshops, Prasar Bharati has contributed producer time, in-house technical facilities and airtime to the project. 

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