United Nations HIV/AIDS Campaign in Bihar, India
|AIDS awareness in India in progress|
Photo credit: Devendra Sharma
In 2007-2008, Dr. Devendra Sharma was the Chief Creative Consultant to the United Nations Joint Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in India. In this capacity, he designed a folk media communication campaign to spread awareness on HIV/AIDS titled "Intervening With The Indigenous: An Action-based Folk Media Campaign and Research Project on HIV/AIDS in Rural Bihar" (Bihar is a state in northern India). As part of the campaign, Dr. Sharma designed community fairs, organized community folk performances, and created a music video to involve local communities in Bihar in combatting HIV/AIDS.
The project was successful in making marginalized communities such as poor people, women, and lower castes become more aware of HIV/AIDS. Dr. Sharma's campaign helped reduce the stigma around this deadly disease in India, and paved the way towards the humane treatment of HIV positive people by the community. Due to the campaign, many people who were afraid to get tested for HIV earlier got themselves tested anonymously. Dr. Sharma co-wrote the campaign report submitted to the United Nations, as well as an academic paper on the project, which he presented at the National Communication Association's annual convention in 2009. Presently, Dr. Sharma is in the process of sending this paper for publication.