Red Ribbon Express started from Delhi on 1 Dec 2007 with a mission to cover all of India in 1 year and spread the awareness about HIV/AIDS.
The extensive route map is shown here:
The youtube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjlC8qbTqzU gives a good idea of this tour. The train stops at Railway stations where people can visit, and for remote villages they arrange the buses to bring people to visit the train. In the camp at the railway station they also present dramas in local language to display the wrath of AIDS and its prevention and cure.
The importance of this campaign is seen from the extent to which HIV/AIDS has infected India:
The Red Ribbon Express touched Bangalore in July.
About 70 youth from YES!+ visited the RRE and spent few hours.
The Train has 7 coaches, each is like an exhibition hall with different audiovisual effects to attract and educate the visitors.
With look through windows to see the monitor and public telephone like pre-recorded tapes, information is given as to how HIV spreads and how AIDS can be prevented.
- AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndromme) cannot be cured, only death can be prolonged with severe medication to few years.
- After Infection of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) the recognition of its presence may take several years, which doctors call as incubation period.
- The HIV Virus kills the patient not by itself, but by weakening his/her defense system, thus making the patient incapable of fighting even simple diseases like common cold.
- HIV spreads through:
- Unprotected Sex with an infected person
- Blood transmission from an infected person
- From an infected Pregnant Mother to her child during pregnancy
- Using unsterilized needles for intra-venus injections or drug usage.
- HIV does not spread through:
- Sharing same room, clothes, food utensils
- Coughing/ sneezing/ sweat/saliva or such non-blood excretions of bodily wastes
- Hand Shake or conversation
- Prevention is only cure:
- A for Abstinence
- B for Be Faithful
- C for use Condoms
- D for No Drugs
After the exhibition sections, there are coaches of Consultation, in which each compartment can accommodate few visitors and meet the doctors.
Last but not least, there is an entire coach devoted to a classroom kind of auditorium, where visitors listen to documentary involving interesting video songs made by leading actors and actresses. The doctors give statistics and answer queries and it was a nice session with them. What helped ease the youth was the frankness of the speaker about the topic of sex, and promptness in giving statistics. He mixed his talk with jokes and kept the atmosphere light. He also got the audience involved in the discussion. E.g. he asked, what would be your reaction if any of you are found infected of AIDS. Would you like to disclose the results of HIV test!? After few replies he said, a patient has rights not to disclose his HIV test results. He also said that in case you come to know of someone infected with HIV, you have to support him/her morally, not to run away from them or isolate them.
The whole visit filled us with a positivity and gave us a lot of awareness to the AIDS.