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Driving home the message - safe sex as a 'man' thing

MUMBAI: 'Aap Kis Tarah Ke Aadmi Hain?' (What kind of

a man are you?). Are you man enough for safe sex? Quite a hard hitting line with an equally important message. Especially when one sees the whole campaign.

Also, you don't have to be a finalist of KBC to guess that this campaign is aimed at propagating safe sex, leading to prevention of further spread of HIV cases.

 

 

Breakthrough, an international human rights organisation, yesterday unveiled its latest campaign aimed at drawing attention to the problem of the growing HIV/AIDS in India.

The campaign, conceptualised in a dialogue format, dwells upon equality within marriages and encourages condom use among men. The campaign has great intrinsic value in India wherein a male

dominated society usage of condom is by and large frowned upon.

A deep, yet sensitive, voice of a woman reveals her innermost thoughts that cannot be spoken out aloud. Her thoughts revolve around the male insensitivity towards women across different situations in life, which finally leads to lack of responsibility to practice safe sex within and outside marriage.

The campaign has been developed by McCann Erickson, spearheaded largely by the company's South Asia and South East Asia creative director Prasoon Joshi on a pro bono basis.

According to Joshi, "Creating a campaign on women and HIV/aids was a real challenge and I tried to understand what a woman would say to her husband in a complex situation like this."

 

 

Media being used for this campaign include television, radio and print in seven languages, which are Bengali, Hindi, Marathi, English, Kannada, Tamil, and Telugu.

A music video has also been shot to the song Maati from Mann Ke Manjeere that has been sung by Shubha Mudgal, written by Joshi and composed by Shantanu Moitra. The video features Mandira Bedi and Sameer Soni and has been executed by Red Ice Films.

Several media houses have come on board as partners that speak largely about their concern for social causes. The organisations that will support this campaign include Indian pubcaster Doordarshan, Star, Sony, NDTV, Sun, Dainik Bhaskar, Radio Mirchi, Amar FM

and Rediff.com. Additional supporters include PVR and Jindal Vijaynagar Steel.

Apart from the 360 degrees multi media campaign, Breakthrough will continue conducting workshops and educational initiatives with students, homemakers, medical and legal professionals and other groups to encourage a deeper understanding of HIV/AIDS and human right issues in India.

This is, probably, for the first time a campaign encourages married couples to get involved in a dialogue on gender relations and HIV/AIDS raising the whole issue from the viewpoint of women.

Breakthrough India ED Mallika Dutt added,"This campaign is path breaking because it encourages a more equal relationship between man and woman to prevent further spread of AIDS."

That India is sitting over an AIDS bomb is putting things mildly. The country has had a sharp increase in the estimated number of HIV infections, from a few thousand in the early 1990s to around 5.1 million children and adults living with HIV/AIDS in 2003. According to statistics available, 800 every night get infected in Mumbai alone.

Breakthrough hopes to spark a public dialogue about difficult, but necessary, issues like "fidelity, protection from HIV/AIDS and communication within a marriage."

However, the theme is not preachy in nature. Dwelling on the same, Joshi said that the theme revolves around safe sex and is not meant to preach anything. "Infidelity is a personal issue and we are not here to give moral lessons," he explained.

It'd be interesting to see how the campaign is viewed by Indians, especially the target audience of women.

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