CHENNAI: The Ellements Regazzo's movement against AIDS, launched on Friday, was unique for two reasons.
One, celebrities said a recognisable face meant being responsible towards the society. Two, a commitment that if young people do not know a facet of AIDS it meant failure on the part of activists.
Authorities from the Unicef, and celebrities like actor Vikram, choreographer Ganesh Hegde, VJ Rannevijay, Samitha Shetty and Ayesha Takia, were "there to make a difference as the event was a significant milestone in their continuing efforts."
Barbara Atherly, Unicef's tsunami coordinator for Tamil Nadu and Kerala, was alarmed at the fact that a large number of the 51 lakh AIDS-hit people in India were not even aware of their illness.
Thomas George of the Unicef said the campaign targeted urban youth, adding that though young people were aware of the epidemic they lacked knowledge about their individual threat perception.
The young icons at the event, a part of the `Unite for children; Unite against AIDS' drive, expressed shock at the incidence of AIDS prevalent among youth. They expressed their readiness to be part of the continuous fight against the disease.
Supriya Sahu, Chairperson of the Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society, stressed the need to converge efforts against the disease to maximise and achieve targets. Pointing out that hundreds of Red Ribbon Clubs had been floated in government and private schools and colleges, she wanted the young audience to start new units and enrol more volunteers. "We have reached out 35 lakh children from standard IX to XI so far," she said.