Radio Mirchi Heroes Project Launch 'Learn About AIDS'

Radio Mirchi in association with Heroes Project, the largest nongovernmental public service campaign in India and the Satyam Foundation, the Corporate Social Responsibility Arm of Satyam Computer Services Ltd launched a one-of-a-kind month long initiative called ‘HIV Pathi Therinjikko – AIDS Pathi Purinjikko’

Spearheaded by Heroes Project, the campaign was conceived to dispel myths and misconceptions that prevail in the minds of people even 20 years into the epidemic. The purpose of this unique initiative is to address some of these issues directly and provide the right answers to questions.

This campaign witnesses the coming together of the corporate and NGO world with the Tamil film industry on an entertaining platform like radio. All elements thus combine to strengthen the cause of HIV/ AIDS awareness.

Using the strengths of radio as a medium, the campaign will roll out in two main segments. To enable wider connect with the listeners, ‘Radio Mirchi’ style messages will be disseminated throughout the day addressing issues from care and support to stigma and discrimination.

The key highlight of the campaign is the celebrity quiz. For two weeks, every day, starting August 6, 2007, a new question will be asked by a different celebrity on HIV/AIDS, thereby addressing myths and misconceptions related to the issue. Answers will be invited through SMS and prizes for the winners will include T-Shirts with HIV/AIDS messaging personally autographed by the respective celebrity. The initiative will involve a number of celebrities from the Tamil film industry like Kamal Hassan, Sharath Kumar, Radhika, Kushboo, Madhavan, Gouthami, Revathi and Vivek among others.

In addition to the messages given, a helpline number (044 2534 5555) will be provided so listeners can call for further information. The helpline, manned by PSI Saadhan, provides HIV/AIDS/STI information, counselling and referral services.

“HIV as an issue continues to be surrounded by misconceptions. In Chennai especially, although awareness of HIV is high, misconception-free understanding is still not widely prevalent. By mainstreaming the issue and providing an entertaining platform, together, with proactive involvement from the top celebrities, Radio Mirchi, Satyam Foundation and PSI Saadhan, this program expects to address these myths head on.” Vinita Sidhartha, State Director Heroes Project said.

Satyam Foundation has partnered with the Heroes Project to sponsor this campaign. The Red Ribbon Clubs formed by them fronts their activities related to HIV/AIDS. As the campaign pans out, a Radio Mirchi SJ (Satellite Jockey) will be interacting with people at Satyam to understand their efforts on the issue.

“Satyam is perhaps the first Indian IT company to formulate a workplace policy on HIV/AIDS. It has done away with HIV testing for candidates selected for jobs in its various software development centers and maintains complete confidentiality in case of those who are positive.”A Satyam Foundation spokesperson said.

Radio Mirchi’s Station Director, Mr. Mahesh Shetty overwhelmed by the response from the celebrities said, “We are really touched to see the spontaneity with which all these celebrities came forward to support a cause like this. Being one of the leading radio channels we thought it our responsibility to spread the message across and address issues of importance to the public. We are indeed happy to be partnering in the Heroes Project for this initiative”.

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