‘Red Ribbon Express’ Train To Spread Anti-HIV Message Across India
India in two months plans to launch the "Red Ribbon Express," a seven-coach train that will travel across the country for one year and visit over 40,000 villages in an effort to spread HIV awareness and knowledge, newKerala.com reports. "With around 5.1 million HIV-positive people in India, ... continuous awareness is the only way to combat AIDS," S.Y. Quraishi, secretary of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, said. The project is a collaborative effort between the ministry, the National AIDS Control Organisation and the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and will cost about $5 million. The train will carry 10 teams of regional volunteers -- including doctors, counselors, members of the media and a number of celebrities -- who will use bicycles to "fan out" to cover 50 villages during each two-day stop, Quraishi said. The volunteers will provide basic sex education and counseling to villagers as well as distribute condoms, he added (Nanda, newKerala.com, 3/28). At each stop, performers will go into nearby villages for two days to stage plays and skits about HIV/AIDS (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/26/05). "We want not only to create awareness about the disease but also to prevent it from taking the shape of an epidemic," Quraishi said (newKerala.com, 3/28).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.