Superheroes, quilts and wish trees to fight AIDS
Campaigners wave placards and shout slogans during a
demonstration to demand funds for fighting AIDS, on July 18, in
Vienna, on the opening day of the 18th International AIDS
Colourful, creative and a little bit crazy: the fight against AIDS
can be all that as activists demonstrated Tuesday at the Global Village
on the sidelines of the World AIDS Conference in Vienna.
At one end of the Village, super-heroes Methadone Man and
Buprenorphine Babe stood in bright latex suits, ready to affront the
deadly scourge of HIV/AIDS.
Methadone and buprenorphine are used to treat drug addiction,
especially to heroin, which is a major contributor to the AIDS epidemic
due to shared needles.
“We wanted to make a campaign that was fun and dynamic, something
that would make people gravitate towards the campaign rather than us
going to them,” Carlos Moreno, who produced a comic book of the two
heroes for the Open Society Institute project, told AFP.
“When you approach people in this sort of method, people let their
guard down a little bit, so you can talk about this in a much more fun
and memorable way that sticks with you later.”
Over 120 booths from 80 countries have set up shop in the hall
adjoining the conference centre where the biennial AIDS congress is
being held this week.
But while free condoms and brochures on prevention and awareness were
the norm, more than a few exhibitors decided on a new approach.
Visitors were queuing up for a copy of The Adventures of Methadone
Man and Buprenorphine Babe, a free T-shirt, or a picture with the two
superheroes. Major signs urging visitors to ‘Condomize’ were spelt out
in variously coloured condoms.