BBC's AIDS awareness campaign attracts 4 lakh participants

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Bangalore, Feb 22: 'The Maathadone Mahaashoora' (Smart Talking) contest launched by the BBC World Service Trust in an attempt to raise awareness on the use of condoms to fight HIV/AIDS attracted more than four lakh participants from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, the most vulnerable States in the country.

The campaign was funded by a generous six million US Dollar grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.The main aim of the project, launched in 2001 was using mass media to make use of condoms more acceptable.

The focus was to get men to talk about condoms as this had positive effect on its use and position condoms as a product men used to show they were responsible and cared for themselves and their families.

Trust Creative Director Radharani Mitra said, ''the proof of the pudding is in the eating. It's great to know the idea has worked.'' ''People from all over the State have made the effort to call in, as is evident from the winner profiles, from Bangalore, Mysore, Bidar and Chickmagalur.... Our winners are thrilled and excited about the unique nature of the contest,'' she said.

Giving away the prizes, BBC World Service Trust Country Director Yvonne MacPherson said, ''The strength of the creative idea behind this campaign is that instead of an advertisement that tells people to talk, it actually stimulated people to talk.


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