Artists Can Provide HIV/AIDS Education ‘More Compellingly’ Than Public Health Workers, Opinion Piece Says
Although artists cannot cure HIV/AIDS, they have the "potential to teach the facts of HIV transmission more compellingly than any white-coat wearing public health worker ever could," David Gere, director of MAKE ART/STOP AIDS and an associate professor of world arts and cultures at the University of California-Los Angeles, writes in a Los Angeles Times opinion piece. Artists' roles in HIV/AIDS education take on "heightened importance" in India, where nearly half of the population is "functionally illiterate," Gere writes, asking, "Would you rather get your AIDS information by reading a dry public health brochure or by watching a luscious piece of choreography?" Three art projects in the country -- a Hindi-language television program with "rich subplots that create opportunities" for HIV/AIDS education; scrolls painted by local artists that "delive[r] AIDS information in a way that requires no literacy, no paper, no electricity"; and a street theater troupe that performs dramas "packed with lifesaving information" about HIV -- are models that could be "replicated in other parts of India or the world," Gere writes. "Each is situated at the sweet spot where the arts meet public health and skills in communication meet the commitment to save lives," Gere writes, concluding that at a "time when people are dying," he looks for "art that values human life and for artists who are willing to do something about it" (Gere, Los Angeles Times, 1/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.