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To Aid The AIDS Victims

There's a WHO report floated about the place that states that India has the highest number of AIDS sufferers in the world. One in seven Indians are HIV-positive, reads another scary report. But the one thing everyone is harping on now, is the smackeroo Richard Gere planted on Shilpa Shetty's cheeks. The media went to town with it; so did some idiots who decided to make a bonfire out of some effigies in honour of the occasion; la Shetty managed to get more than a few sound bytes in Indian and British media while quite a few bloggers made their feelings known on their blogs for all the world to see. That pesky little thing called AIDS awareness, the actual reason why Gere was in India had, by now, slipped out of most people's minds completely.

But there was something happening quietly in the background, that has made me sit up and take notice. Hopefully, this will make people realise what a bunch of silly fools we are and get down to the matters at hand instead.

I am talking about the launch of the Condom Bar, in Chandigarh. What a brilliant idea! Here, at last, is some positive action. Instead of taking the usual route of sweeping things under the carpet and pretending nothing is amiss, here are some people who are actively looking to counteract the rising levels of HIV in the country. And I, for one, salute them and their spirit.

The Condom Bar is a novel initiative to increase AIDS awareness in the country. It is a proper bar, serving drinks and what nots but instead of stopping there, it also does its bit in helping promote the use of condom to its patrons. Firmly believing in going the extra mile, it also has place mats offering some well-meaning advice blurbs like "Enjoy safely" and "Don't just get on. Get it on! Protect yourself, protect others". Instead of the useless chunk of mint you'd find in the saucers along with loose change, at the Condom Bar, you would find a few colourful condoms instead.

What is most commendable about this venture is that this is wholly government backed. Chandigarh Industrial & Tourism Corporation (Citco) is the driving force behind this enterprise and in order to keep the place affordable and accessible to the aam junta, the bar is doing to be run as a "non-profit operation with low-priced drinks and wholesome vegetarian food at cost prices." I am well impressed! The idea that the local government is tackling this awful issue of steadily increasing HIV victims in an informed and progressive way is refreshing and real welcome.

According to news reports, the club was opened by Pooja Thakur, a young mother and president of a voluntary counselling group for people living with HIV and AIDS. When the whole world is going hammer and tongs at amassing wealth, it is rather humbling to hear the club owner say, "Our earnings will be the awareness and the message we will help spread".

I am all for new and novel ways of finding solutions to problems. A few weeks back I saw a programme on the telly where the host Davina McCall was walking about the streets of Amsterdam's Red Light district and talking to teachers there about sex education. Why? Because teen pregnancy is on the rise in Britain and everyone wants to figure out a way to curb that.

Likewise, HIV and AIDS are on a steady incline and the more we see innovative initiatives such as the Condom bar and the better chance we have at combating such issues. I hope they succeed and we are able to see Condom Clubs across the country, promoting safe sex and AIDS awareness.

Posted by DesiGirl 6:21 pm  

1 Comment:

  1. Amrita said...
    with the kind of population we have and the taboo in place over sex ed, its no wonder we have the highest AIDS epidemic going around in terms of numbers. The condom bar is a great idea and i've seen some really innovative ads on the subject too. Why does every positive thing in India need to be a people's movement? How come our govt's so useless when our people are so smart?

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