The world commemorates World AIDS Day on December 1 every year. It is held as a day of homage and also to raise awareness around the support of HIV-positive people.
World AIDS Day was created in 1988 to close the gaps and disparities that limit HIV testing, prevention, and access to care. This day also serves as a call to action for people to band together globally.
The theme for 2022 is "Equalise". It implies that everyone should try to end the injustices that, according to UNAIDS – the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS which is the main advocate for accelerated, comprehensive and coordinated global action on HIV/AIDS pandemic – are impeding the effort to eradicate AIDS.
By the end of 2021, there were over 38.4 million HIV-positive individuals worldwide and stigma and prejudice are still commonplace for many who live with the disease. World AIDS Day is significant because it reminds the public and the government that the issue is serious and demands immediate funding, education, eradication of discrimination, and better educational opportunities.
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While the taboos around HIV/AIDS still exist in different parts of the world, filmmakers worldwide have taken initiatives to break the stigma attached to the disease.
Here are some Bollywood films which have helped spotlight the issue, break taboos and help raise awareness about HIV/AIDS over the years…
Released in 2003, 'Phir Milenge' starred actors Salman Khan and Shilpa Shetty, Salman Khan and Abhishek Bachchan in the lead roles. Inspired by the Tom Hanks starrer Philadelphia, the film was about an employee's wrongful termination after she was diagnosed with HIV. Renowned actor and filmmaker Revathi directed the film.
Onir's directorial 'My Brother...Nikhil' is considered one of the best Bollywood films on the subject of HIV/AIDS to date. The film revolves around swimming champion Nikhil Kapoor (Sanjay Suri). His life falls apart after he gets diagnosed with HIV. During this time, the only two people who stand by him are his sister Anamika (Juhi Chawla) and partner Niegel (Purab Kohli). The film highlights the social repercussions Nikhil's parents (Victor Banerjee & Lillete Dubey) faced due to their son's disease. This progressive 2005 film also deals with homosexual relationships.
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Helmed by Mahesh Manjrekar, Nidaan was the story of a teenage girl who contracted the disease through a blood transfusion. Learning of her condition, the family tries to make the most of the time they have left with her. It was released in 2000. Reema Lagoo, Sunil Barve, and Shivaji Satam acted in the film.
Directed by Farhan Akhtar, 'Positive' is a 2007 short film about a man who learns that his father contracted the virus years ago. With only a little time left, he must consciously forgive his father for cheating on his mother and comfort him on his deathbed. The film's cast includes Shabana Azmi, Boman Irani and Arjun Mathur in lead roles.
(With ANI Inputs)