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Madhya Pradesh Uses Radio to Create Awareness About AIDS

Madhya Pradesh has come up with the novel idea of using air waves to propagate AIDS awareness more effectively at little or no cost.//

The concept, pioneered by the Madhya Pradesh State AIDS Control Society (MPSACS) about a month ago, includes several programmes aired on the radio dealing exclusively with AIDS-related issues.

"Using radio for propagating the message about AIDS and its prevention has two advantages. Firstly, no other media can match the reach of radio, particularly in rural areas. Secondly, the cost is next to nil. So by spending little or no money, you reach people in a more effective manner," said an MPSACS official.

Anil Gulati, the UNICEF communication officer, said: "It is a mix of education along with entertainment which helps bring about a positive change. And radio, with 14 All India Radio (AIR) stations, is more useful than any other media in spreading messages. In rural base radio is still the most popular entertainment, particularly among the youth."

Gulati is also a technical expert in one of the programmes on HIV/AIDS.

UNICEF provides physical and material support in organising programmes aimed at arresting the HIV virus, which is spreading at an alarming rate among the young.

"Zara Sochiye" is one such programme aired every Wednesday. It provides general information on HIV/AIDS apart from playing popular songs.

"An expert on the subject also talks on the issue," Shradha Bose, the deputy director of MPSACS, told IANS.

review "The population in the age group of 21-30 years is registering a sharp rise in AIDS cases and will soon overtake the number of those affected in the age group of 31-40 years. However, those in early 20s are becoming most susceptible," the latest MPSACS report said.

Bose added: "Of the total 1,701 AIDS patients in Madhya Pradesh, 38 percent of AIDS affected people belong to the 21-30 age group - only one percen
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