Anushree Bhattacharyya
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NACO: Creating an awareness for HIV/AIDS

NACO, in association with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School, spreads the message of social discrimination against AIDS/HIV positive patients, in its new campaign.

The National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Communication Programmes, has set about to create awareness regarding AIDS, through its new television campaign. This follows the Red Ribbon Express commercial released in December 2009. The organisation, through the campaign, focusses on the social and professional ostracism of HIV positive persons.

NACO: Creating an awareness for HIV/AIDS
Titled 'Resignation', the television commercial has been conceptualised by Lowe Lintas. The TVC begins with a man handing over his resignation to his boss, citing a silly reason. He's followed by many of his colleagues, who hand over their resignations as well, citing insignificant reasons. When the stunned boss wants to know the reason for the exodus, a woman employee refers to Mohit, whose services were terminated as he was HIV positive. The TVC ends with a message delivered by the voiceover, "Discriminate against those people who discriminate against those suffering from AIDS."
NACO: Creating an awareness for HIV/AIDS
Speaking to afaqs! Amer Jaleel, national creative director, Lowe Lintas, says, "HIV/AIDS is a huge subject that is being constantly discussed. The idea was to look at a new way to talk about the subject. So, we went with the idea of 'discrimination'. As in the Tata Tea campaign, where we highlighted corruption, in every socially relevant campaign, we give a task to the viewers. In this case, we are urging people to discriminate against those who discriminate against people suffering from HIV/AIDS."

The creative team involved in the campaign includes Amer Jaleel, Manoj Tapadia, Sagar Kapoor, Neeraj Singh, and Satyajit Kadam, while planning includes Tarina Rallan. The servicing team includes Raj Gupta, Reshmi Ganguli, Pooja Jaggi, and Saudamini Junnarkar. Produced by Lintas Productions, the TVC has been directed by Manoj Tapadia.

According to the 2009-2010 annual report by NACO, about 22.7 lakh people were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 2008, with an estimated adult HIV prevalence of 0.29 per cent.

The report further states that 87.1 per cent of HIV infections still occur through heterosexual transmission. While parent-to-child transmission accounts for 5.4 per cent of the HIV cases detected, drug abuse accounts for 1.6 per cent. Homosexual sex accounts for 1.5 per cent, while contaminated blood and blood products account for one per cent.

In India, it is unprotected sex with sex workers, unprotected sex between men, and drug abuse, which are the primary drivers of HIV in the country. As per reports, Chandigarh, Punjab, Delhi, Mumbai, Manipur, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra have the highest number of HIV positive cases.

Are we aware?

NACO: Creating an awareness for HIV/AIDS
NACO: Creating an awareness for HIV/AIDS
HIV/AIDS has been an area of concern and debate for more than decades. While society is yet to open out its arms towards people suffering from AIDS, constant efforts are being made in India, as well as globally, to educate people about the disease. Has the new TVC been successful in their endeavour to spread awareness regarding AIDS?

K V Sridhar, national creative director, Leo Burnett, says, "In 2002, Indian society witnessed the entry of Balbir Pasha, a character who created a huge impact in the series of television commercials. Compared to that, this commercial fails in its attempt to provide adequate insight into the subject, which I think is required for a subject like AIDS. But, I liked the campaign. The TVC is well executed and engaging, considering how serious and sensitive the subject is"

According to Kawal Shoor, head, planning, Ogilvy India, trivialising the issue is a smart strategy in order to make people believe that HIV/AIDS is not really that big a deal after all. "The film also builds sufficient intrigue to engage a viewer. Maybe I'm wrong, but I just wonder -- why would people want to shun an HIV positive person? Is it because they think it is serious matter? Or, is it because, in their minds, it puts a question mark on his character?" asks Shoor.