In an attempt to reach a wider audience, many HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns are using creative techniques to send a positive message about HIV prevention and treatment. Here are five interesting ways people are fighting the disease around the world:
1) In the village of Corozal in Honduras, members of the local Garifuna tribe use musical performance and theater to promote HIV awareness. According to NPR, the Garifuna have an HIV rate that is five times higher than the national rate. In order to combat the rampant spread of the disease, members of the community have formed a theater troupe that puts HIV on mock trial in community shows. Health ministry officials in the capital of Tegulcigalpa are conducting research with the CDC to determine the program's effectiveness.
2) Project Indulge, a new campaign by the Filipino nonprofit Love Yourself Inc., uses images of attractive and mostly-nude young men along with witty copy to promote HIV testing and awareness. Love Yourself, whose mission includes promoting healthful sexual practices and positive self-love messages among Filipino youth, partnered with the advertising agency Campaign and Grey to launch Project Indulge in early 2013. According to Love Yourself Inc, the campaign "suggests that people include regular HIV testing as part of their personal grooming routine to stay healthy and sexy."
3) The Condom Tree Program was started in 1998 as a regional effort to combat sexually transmitted infection (STI) transmission among Indigenous Western Australians. Condoms placed in PVC pipes that are painted by members of the community are tied to tree branches in popular meeting spots. Nindilingarri Cultural Health Services, part of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organization (NACCHO), is responsible for the project.
4) In Uganda, a new HIV campaign that directly addresses sexual infidelity is stirring controversy in the nation. New billboards in Kampala include images of broken hearts and slogans like, "Cheating? Use a condom. Cheated on? Get Tested." The campaign takes a frank approach to a topic that is uncomfortable for many Ugandans. The billboards were originally put up by Uganda Cares – a program of the US NGO, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF). However, according to PlusNews Global, the Ugandan government's own AIDS Commission ordered the billboards be removed, claiming they directly contradict the government's messages of fidelity.
5) In Parañaque in the Philippines, "Zumba for a Cause: Dance Against HIV/AIDS" was a dance marathon put on by the Social Hygiene Clinic of the City Health Office on November 29, 2012, according to the Philippine Information Agency. The three-hour dance marathon, which took place in the parking lot of a major shopping mall, is part of a growing national effort to raise HIV awareness. Participants were encouraged to join for their own fitness and to raise awareness, and they received gift bags that included pamphlets with information about HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections. The Philippines was one of only nine countries that had a 25 percent increase in HIV incidence, according to the United Nations Progamme on AIDS/HIV 2012 report.