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Year 2010

Be Very Careful, AIDS Could ‘Pick’ on You

Times of India
10 December 2010
By Pratibha Masand
Mumbai, India

PLAY SAFE: Stickers pasted on commuters to spread the message on the use of condoms PLAY SAFE: Stickers pasted on commuters to spread the message on the use of condoms
Rail and bus commuters have been witnessing a peculiar phenomenon recently involving pick–pocketing. While it is quite common in crowded places, Mumbaikars have never seen before a pick–pocket drawing attention to himself after stealing people’s wallets.

The scenes have been playing since last week on many trains and buses. However, instead of commuters getting hold of the pick–pockets and bashing them up, what follows is a dialogue.

On the occasion of World AIDS Day, the Mumbai District AIDS Control Society (MDACS) has been undertaking various activities like this to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS among Mumbaikars. "The pickpocket, who is an actor, tells the victim, who is also an actor, that this is how HIV/ AIDS could pick on any person who is not careful," said Vinitha Venkatraman, joint director of communications, MDACS.

Their main target, said Venkatraman, were migrant workers who come to Mumbai and start feeling lonely. "They tend to have unprotected sex and contract HIV," she said. MDACS claimed it had reached out to 1,200 migrants through stickers, which carried messages that were stuck on commuters’ backs.

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