Artists in Siliguri create paintings to raise funds for people affected by HIV
Artists in West Bengal's Siliguri district recently attended a workshop and displayed their paintings at an exhibition to generate money for the welfare of the people infected by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
India's fight against HIV/AIDS over the past decade has been a great success surpassing other countries' efforts.
UNAIDS statistics show India's rate of new HIV infections fell by more than 50 percent between 2001-2009 - the global rate dropped by 25 percent.
"We want to use our art and spread the message across to the masses that AIDS does not spread by touching an infected person. We need to spread awareness about AIDS and prevent it from spreading," said a painter, Somesh Ghosh.
Conservative views about sex, high cost and poor awareness have hindered the use of the female condom in India despite its introduction two decades ago.
Condom manufacturers say getting more women to use female condoms remains a challenge in countries such as India where public talk of sex is still largely a taboo and men take decisions over sex and family planning.
"The artwork will be exhibited as well and the revenue generated will be sent for the upkeep and welfare of the HIV infected persons and that is why we organized this workshop cum exhibition," said Secretary of non-profit organization, West Bengal Voluntary Health Organization.
Global leaders last year committed to the "beginning of the end of AIDS" by 2015.
HIV is transmitted primarily through unprotected sexual intercourse, contaminated blood transfusions and hypodermic needles, and from mother to baby in three ways - in the womb, during childbirth or through breastfeeding, experts say.
Despite advances in prevention worldwide, the human and financial costs of HIV/AIDS continue to mount, requiring more support from governments and the international community, World Bank.
About 2.5 million people in India out of its 1.2 billion population are living with HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS estimates show.