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Govt Ropes in Artistes to Spread AIDS Awareness

Times of India
30 April 2011
Jaipur, India

The battle against AIDS is tough and a long drawn one. Despite the state government taking several measures to eradicate the disease, the efforts have proved not enough. But the government is not giving up yet.

In its latest move, the government has decided to rope in folk artistes and magicians who will work as messengers to make the people aware about the global scourge.

Altogether 12 districts – Jaipur, Ajmer, Alwar, Tonk, Udaipur, Dungarpur, Banswara, Chittorgarh, Rajsamand, Jodhpur, Barmer and Sriganganagar – have been identified as high prevalent and around 80 artistes will campaign in these places during the drive organised by the Rajasthan State AIDS Control Society.

"The awareness drive would touch entire state but we have identified these districts for our awareness drive in the first phase as cases of AIDS are higher in the 12 districts identified in comparison to the other districts of the state. These districts are on priority and some of them have high migrant population," joint–director of Information Education Communication (IEC) Dr Pradeep Chawdhary said.

For the past four days, the folk artistes were busy rehearsing their programme here. Apart from the artistes, magicians and puppeteers would also spread the social message.

Highlighting his show for the campaign, Udaipur–based magician M Lal said, "Through magic, I will turn a colour book into a black book to spread the message to the people that AIDS could destroy your colourful life. Also, I will show the people how we can keep ourselves safe from the disease."

Folk singer from Bikaner Meer Razak Ali said, "I will perform in Bikaner and so will each folk artist in the area to which he or she belongs."

Ali stressed that the main aim of the folk artistes is to spread the message among adolescents and youths, who are more vulnerable to HIV saying they have lack of adequate information, authentic sources of information and but with all curiosity to experiment.

About one third of the AIDS cases has been found to be afflicting young people in the age group of 15–29 years.

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