Multinational soft drinks giants Coke and Pepsi may soon become part of the Indian government's efforts to reach out to people in far-flung areas to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS and promote the use of condoms.
Where social marketing efforts have failed in reaching supplies of condoms, the idea is to reach out through the soft drinks firms that have managed to set up a marketing network estimated at over one million outlets across the country.
It has been proposed to advertise the concept including possible slogans on the soft drinks bottle. The massive reach of these companies to even the rural areas has been behind the Government's decision. It has also been planned to distribute condoms through their outlets.
The requests have elicited encouraging response from both the multinationals.
What led to the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) looking to Coke and Pepsi for support was the encouraging response they received for advertisements featuring cricket stars advising on the need for preparedness. Some campaigns even had them carrying condoms along with the cricket gear.
Backed by 10 countries, including India, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has been actively supporting efforts to promote awareness about HIV/AIDS through campaigns on safe sex.
The effort is to ensure that the number of HIV positive cases in the country is contained at the official estimate 5.13 million. Besides cola companies, several other multinational and national companies with large sales networks, as also banks, are now being looked at by NACO as potential vehicles for creating mass awareness and promotion of condoms.
Source: Indo-Asian News Service