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UNICEF reaffirms commitment to protect children from HIV and AIDS

Islamabad, November 30: On World AIDS Day being celebrated on December 1, UNICEF Representative in Pakistan, Mr. Omar Abdi has highlighted the need to focus attention on protecting children from HIV and ensure care and support for those children infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.

 “Twenty-five years into the pandemic, this disease which is becoming more visible in Pakistan yet continues to have an invisible face, a missing face, a young person’s face. This needs to change.” said Omar Abdi.

As part of the effort to raise visibility around young people and HIV, UNICEF and the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) in partnership with communication consultancy AMAL, has developed a series of materials which are being launched on World AIDS Day. These include Public Service Announcements, billboards, a booklet of testimonies telling real stories of young people with HIV and AIDS in Pakistan, and a documentary featuring Strings, the Pakistani pop band and UNICEF Pakistan National Ambassadors for HIV and AIDS.

The documentary, Umeed Ki Dor (Strings of Hope) is the journey that Faisal and Bilal of Strings take to meet with young Pakistanis to discuss issues around HIV and AIDS. They travel to Quetta and interact with young people from many different walks of life, including school children, boy scouts, newspaper sellers, carpet weavers and garbage collectors.  Strings and the young people share their understanding of HIV and AIDS and then join together in singing their ever popular music.

Young people have provided guidance and input into the scripting, storyboarding and much of the filming of the documentary called ‘Umeed Ki Dor’ which will be aired on Indus Music Television on December 1 at 11:00 AM and repeated at 10:00 PM.

 “This is ground breaking: the first time that young people in Pakistan have been given the opportunity to publicly recognize and talk about the importance of protecting themselves from HIV and AIDS. Because of their popularity, Strings were able to talk with young people in a way that makes this documentary both highly informative and entertaining,” said UNICEF Representative Omar Abdi.

The Public Service Announcements are based on true stories of a young mother and a street boy who are living with HIV and AIDS in Pakistan. The PSAs will be aired through out the day on different television channels.

Additionally, in a unique partnership with the corporate sector, UNICEF, the NACP and Mobilink have produced billboards featuring Strings and messages on HIV and AIDS. The billboards are located in the three cities of Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi.

All over the world, every minute: one child dies of an AIDS related illness, one child becomes HIV positive and four young people aged 15 to 24 become infected with HIV.                                



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