End inequalities. Ending AIDS | Blog
Inclusive India is the need of the day. One of the main priorities is to resolve critical tensions and create a positive global impact. As Durex India, we want to release freedom to allow everyone to express themselves and behave according to their true sexual self. No one can be, or should be, left behind. Everyone can adorn their true and independent identity. It is a necessity for any society and nation to involve and absorb not only individuals, but different communities.
The main action to forge this agenda, and to take several steps in the right direction, is to educate our young people, especially adolescents. They need safe platforms and spaces, where they can engage in critical social, sexual and healthy conversations. Openness and willingness to discuss sexual and reproductive health issues must be at the forefront of any vision or program. Only a well thought out strategy can allow the creation of such public and private spaces, both at home and outside, where there is no shame in discussing private and sensitive subjects.
Instead of push factors, pull factors that push behavior in the right direction are important. Therefore, it is important to take an empowering approach not only for adolescents and young adults, but also for teachers, caregivers, health workers and, most importantly, key populations. There is also a large population that is infected with HIV / AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Some of the key populations constitute communities engaged in sex work that are highly prone to HIV / AIDS and other STDs. Segments such as migrants and truckers are at enormous risk.
We believe in advocating for a more participatory approach, where information and education can lead to positive change and build inclusive, healthier and safer societies. Not just in terms of social and economic equality, but instead of multiple gender sexual empowerment. Women, men and binaries must be able to express their wants and needs. No one should be forced to participate in sexual activity without their consent. Society must accept and embrace other genders with different and multiple sexual identities and preferences.
Reckitt, as a founding member of the Condom Alliance, launched India’s first condology report in 2021. This report is a way to help make India a sexually healthy and progressive nation. In 2021, Reckitt stepped up awareness raising activities on adolescent sexual and reproductive health through the Durex Birds and Bees Talk campaign in northeast India to reach over 4 million schoolchildren and young people. . The program is a one-of-a-kind initiative where the model was developed with parents before approaching children based on a culturally appropriate behavior change model and information on topics such as inclusion, awareness, consent, protection and equity.
The challenge now is to ensure that these messages reach the hundreds of millions of young people in urban and rural areas. It is both an opportunity and a challenge. Several stakeholders, including industry, must be involved in the process. But the program allows key sections, like teachers, parents and school administrations, to take the necessary action. It is very encouraging to see a deeper engagement from the respective state governments and cultural groups in North East India.
Think tanks and media like Network18, NDTV, Outlook India, India TV and many others can play a catalytic role in helping millions of young people take the right action. OTT platforms such as Hotstar, Amazon Prime, Netflix, etc. can play a central role in ensuring that messages reach the right audience.
There is a huge role that needs to be played by youth in India, it includes young influencers and youth organizations to create much needed impact. As they say, with great power comes great responsibility. This is true not only for Spiderman, but for every youngster, who has the ability to encourage others to change their sexual practices. The condom can easily be stacked together as a smart and cool choice. As you walk out with your car key and wallet, you cannot leave your house without the condoms.
With a focus on the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of “Leaving No One Behind”, this year’s theme for World AIDS Day is “Ending the HIV Epidemic: equitable access, everyone’s voice ”is essential to ensure that we reach the people who have been left behind. Ensuring that there is no disparity and contempt for people who already have HIV is something we need to be aware of. At Reckitt India, we are committed to tackling inequalities and ensuring access to the products and services needed to fight HIV / AIDS.
About the Author: Ravi Bhatnagar is the Director of External Affairs and SOA Partnerships, Reckitt
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV assumes no responsibility in this regard.