New Internationalist

A passion for life

Last week a coalition of television and radio broadcasters across Latin America launched PASION POR LA VIDA / PAIXAO PELA VIDA (‘Passion for Life’) – the first regional effort led by media to inspire and empower people to help stem the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Profiling 13 courageous HIV-positive individuals from across Latin America who share both a passion for life and a desire to end the spread of the disease, the campaign aims to put a face on the region’s HIV/AIDS epidemic and encourage the audience to become better informed about HIV/AIDS and to reduce HIV-related stigma. They are musicians, poets, academics, and shopkeepers – everyday people who share their experience living with HIV.
The campaign’s message of hope and positive action is being broadcast in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, by members of the Latin America Media AIDS Initiative (or IMLAS, its Spanish acronym) – a regional partnership of the Global Media AIDS Initiative (GMAI). The campaign is also being distributed in the United States. 

According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Latin America is the third most affected region in the world, with 1.7 million people living with HIV at the end of 2007. An estimated 140,000 people in the region were infected by HIV in 2007, and 60,000 died as a result of AIDS. An estimated 65 per cent of those currently living with HIV or AIDS in the region do not know it. 

This campaign is a multi-platform approach that extends HIV/AIDS content across programming platforms and genres. All campaign programming encourages listeners and viewers to visit a new bilingual website (www.pasionporlavida.org or www.paixaopelavida.org) to find information, local resources, and personal stories on HIV/AIDS and related issues. The comprehensive website also includes extended interviews with each of the individuals profiled in the campaign, behind-the-scenes footage from the campaign shoot, and interactive applications, including online games, trivia and polls. There is also a Facebook page where the people can subscribe and share the contents with all their contacts. The page already has 400 friends. 

Alejandro

Shot in five cities across the region, the documentary-style public service ads (PSAs) aim to create a personal connection to HIV/AIDS among the audience and engender the feeling that HIV/AIDS could affect ‘people like me and those I care about’. In the first wave of the campaign, which debuts this week, audiences will meet Alejandro, a 20-year-old musician; Maripaz, a mother living in the Salvadoran jungle; Raquel, a vibrant businesswoman; Robert, a professor and author. The campaign was conceptualized by IMLAS with guidance from media practitioners, HIV experts and people living with HIV/AIDS, and was produced by the ONYX.la production company, the DON agency and WeArePacheco, winners of seven Lions Awards at the 2009 Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

Raquel

‘PASION POR LA VIDA marks an important milestone in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Latin America, as the first media-led regional effort to bring our countries together in response to the disease,’ stated Dr. Pedro Cahn, Former Chairman of the International AIDS Society and President of Fundación Huésped, which manages day-to-day operations for IMLAS. ‘The passion and courage demonstrated by the individuals featured in the campaign’s first set of PSAs reminds us that AIDS does not discriminate, and that we’re all equal in the face of this disease.’

‘This important coalition of media across Latin America offers an unprecedented opportunity to reach audiences across the region with information, direct people to resources, and to challenge stereotypes and misperceptions,’ said Drew Altman, President and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which established the Global Media AIDS Initiative in 2004 in partnership with UNAIDS to mobilize the world’s media industry. Kaiser also provides ongoing strategic support and creative direction to IMLAS.

‘As a partner of the Latin American Media AIDS Initiative, UNICEF attempts to reach the minds and hearts of people, especially young people, with the objective of making changes and encouraging them to talk openly about HIV/AIDS, so as to create a renewed sense of union as a response to the epidemics,’ stated Bernt Aasen, UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. ‘To challenge the stigma and discrimination HIV is surrounded with, UNICEF supports IMLAS in its attempt to invite everyone to commit and to express a “Passion for Life”,’ he added.

To commemorate the World AIDS Day on 1 December, as a part of the campaign, IMLAS will offer different fictional and documentary features that will be distributed rights-free among its broadcast members. 

The following videos from Pasion por la vida are subtitled in English:

http://vimeo.com/7171604
http://vimeo.com/7171604
http://vimeo.com/7171604

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