Staff Reporter

The venture was aimed at helping NGOs build partnerships and develop links

Teaser advertisement evokes interestCampaign's core message was to break the silence

CHENNAI: The findings of a 40-day AIDS awareness campaign at Coimbatore organised by AIDS Prevention and Control Project (APAC) and non-governmental organisations in the district were presented at a daylong workshop here recently.

Coimbatore, identified by the APAC as among the five high prevalence districts, was chosen for its size and mix of population.

The campaign aimed at capturing people's attention with catchy slogans with a view to sensitising people to risky behaviour. It hoped to help the 20 networking NGOs to build partnerships and develop links between referral services and counselling and testing services, care and support services and antiretroviral treatment.

The campaign, conducted from November 17 to December 16, focussed on the theme `know your status' with teaser media advertisements.

APAC volunteers and supporters roped in leaders of non-religious but faith-based organisations which were "more open to talk about prevention, willing to mix up the ABC [abstinence, being faithful and condom use]" than religious organisations.

The Rs. 50-lakh campaign included radio and cable television spots, illuminated mobile autorickshaws and newspaper insertions.

Quiz

A quiz was held after the teaser advertisement, `irukku ana illai' to get the message across: `AIDS irukku ana poruppudan irundhal ungalukku AIDS illai' (AIDS is a reality but if you are responsible you do not have AIDS).

"The irukku ana illai spawned a lot of interest. The campaign's core message was to break the silence," said Krishna Kumar of Mouli's, the agency that developed the advertisements.

Coimbatore has six voluntary counselling and testing centres but for more visibility a mobile VCTC was launched to reach out to people served by primary health centres.

The effort paid off.

Though the media was used, folk and street theatres were not used much. Also, radio and television created more awareness whereas the potential of folk and street theatres was not exploited.

The result of the high-profile campaign was that people wanted more testing centres though there did not seem to be a perceptible rise in the number of people coming to the centres.

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