“HIV/AIDS is a disease that does not discriminate between sex, color, or religion. As nobody is immune to any disease, we have to stand united in the fight against the AIDS epidemic” said UN Resident Coordinator in Lebanon, Ms. Marta Ruedas on the occasion of World AIDS Day, during the award giving ceremony of the “Aid, don’t discriminate” Radio/TV competition on HIV/AIDS.
In this context, the UNDP Radio/TV Competition on HIV AIDS targeted university students who were requested to create a Radio/TV spot and record positive key messages with religious leaders to raise awareness on Human rights for people living with HIV/AIDS.
In line with goal number six of the Millennium Development Goals - Combat HIV/AIDS: Halting and reversing its spread by 2015, this competition also aimed at decreasing the stigma and discrimination that People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) faces.
Candidates met up with Religious leaders of the various religions and sects in Lebanon at an orientation session in the Radisson Hotel where they discussed ideas and filming locations for their spots. After the deadline, an expert judging committee objectively chose the award winners for the Radio/TV competition.
During the award giving ceremony, the winners received cash awards and certificates for their participation in this competition.
Organized by the National AIDS Control Program- Ministry of Public Health, in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Soins Infirmiers et Développement Communautaire (SIDC) and supported by the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), this event took place on December 1st 2010 at the Lebanese Order of Physicians in Furn El-Chebeck, under the Patronage and in the presence of His Excellency, Minister of Public Health Dr. Mohammad Jawad Khalifeh.
In his speech, Minister Khalifeh called for additional strengthened efforts to combat HIV/AIDS and stressed on the importance of communication and awareness campaigns. “AIDS is more than a virus, it is a universal challenge and the success of fighting this epidemic should be universal”, he said.
Prizes were as follows:
For the TV Spots:
Prize no 1 Mohammad Tabbara from AUST University received 2500$
Prize no. 2 Pascale Abou Jamra from ALBA University received 1500$
Prize no. 3 Nadim Khairallah, Nicolas Saade, and Jad Beyrouthy from NDU University received 500$
As for the Radio Spot, Rana Gebran from Lebanese University received 1500$.
The spot produced by Mr Mohammad Tabbara is broadcast on National Televisions as part of the World AIDS campaign for HIV/AIDS awareness. The 3 winning TV spots can be viewed on: http://www.youtube.com/undplebanon
Commenting on his participation in this competition, first winner Mohammad Tabbara felt that by delivering his awareness message, he can make a change in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Rana Gebran, radio spot winner, also believed that she could participate in this awareness campaign by using her creativity as a mean to deliver a message of tolerance and acceptance of the HIV/AIDS patients.
It is worth mentioning that in Lebanon since the first reported case in 1984 and till the end of 2009, 1,253 were reported infected with HIV. The youth less than 30 years represent 32.5% of the total cases, and 42% of the cases got infected through unprotected sexual relations and 7% through infected syringes of drug users.