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A campaign to give voice to HIV-infected women

P. T. Jyothi Datta

Mumbai , May 17

"IT seeks to give a voice to the woman, who gets infected with HIV/AIDS for no fault of hers," says Mr Prasoon Joshi, Regional Creative Director of the advertising agency McCann Erickson.

He is referring to what is increasingly being called the `genderisation' of the HIV/AIDS disease. Women are bearing the brunt of the illness and it is not being restricted to just the high-risk categories, like commercial sex workers, agrees Dr Suniti Solomon, Director of Y.R.G. Centre for AIDS Research and Education.

Of the estimated 55 lakh HIV/AIDS-infected people in the country, about 20 lakh are women, says Ms Mallika Dutt of Breakthrough, a human rights organisation. And majority of the infected women are married women, she adds.

And this is precisely the point being addressed by `What Kind of Man are You?' — a national campaign on women and HIV/AIDS launched by Breakthrough.

Mr Joshi has helped script the television commercial and the lyrics for the music video featuring television personalities Mandira Bedi and Samir Soni, known to audiences as `Purab' of Sony TV's serial `Jassi Jaisi Khoi Nahin.'

"It is a very sensitive subject. We are encouraging couples to talk. We are trying to sensitise women who are vulnerable, who get infected despite being loyal because of their husbands," Mr Joshi told Business Line.

`What Kind of Man Are You?' is a 360-degree integrated communication campaign that will be aired on television, radio, print, Internet, movie theatres and transportation. It encourages dialogue on HIV/AIDS among married couples in Bengali, Hindi, English, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Marathi.

The campaign also includes a music video to the song `Maati' from Breakthrough's album Mann ke Manjeere (EMI-Virgin) sung by Shubha Mudgal, written by Mr Joshi and composed by Shantanu Moitra.

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