Government-Sponsored Detective Show Delivers HIV/AIDS Messages in India
The government-backed television show "Detective Vijay" is being used to deliver messages about HIV/AIDS to viewers in India, the Chicago Tribune reports. The show, which has the support of India's national AIDS organization and is aired several nights a week during prime time on a government-owned television station, tells the story of Vijay, a private investigator who also works as an AIDS educator. The show specifically targets people in northern India, where HIV/AIDS prevalence has remained low, and the characters on the show speak Hindi, the most common language in that region. Nearly four million Indians are HIV-positive, according to the National AIDS Control Organization, but experts estimate that the actual number of individuals with the virus is "much higher." HIV/AIDS education efforts have met "stiff resistance" in the country because of lack of cultural openness in discussing sex or sex-related diseases, the Tribune reports. The television program, which is funded by the British Department for International Development and produced by BBC World Service, seeks to encourage discussion of the disease by delivering HIV/AIDS messages in an "engag[ing]" format, Peter Gill, the show's executive producer, said. The show marks a "major step" in HIV/AIDS awareness in India, Vidhya Ganesh, project manager of UNAIDS' South Asia Political Advocacy Project, said, adding, "Even in the United States it has not happened, even in Europe it has not happened. In Iowa or Utah, I can't imagine people talking about AIDS in prime time" (Gezari, Chicago Tribune, 7/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.