Supporting projects that improve attitudes and behaviour towards disabled people...

Aids Educational Programme
ALWAR, India Seventeen-year-old Ravindri Chaudhury and some classmates lined up Sunday morning to board an unusual train called the Red Ribbon Express, which had pulled into their dusty town. Chaudhury had a lot of questions about AIDS but did not know whom to ask. So she hoped the colorfully painted train, with its traveling AIDS exhibition and counseling center, would give her some answers.

"Will I get AIDS from mosquito bites? From sharing a soda?" she asked, then whispered her next question shyly. "Will I get AIDS from kissing?" Her friends giggled, covering their mouths with their palms.

About 80 percent of Indians ages 15 to 24 have heard of HIV and AIDS, the Health Ministry reports, but only 57 percent of them can correctly identify prevention methods.

Fifteen years after India began a national anti-AIDS program, officials say the Red Ribbon Express represents an admission that the general population remains woefully ignorant about the disease.

Some progress has been reported, however, among high-risk groups such as sex workers, truckers and intravenous drug users.

Last Days, on World AIDS Day, senior political leaders in New Delhi saw the train off on its first mission -- a 17,000-mile, year-long journey to deliver information on AIDS to about 60,000 villages.

Assisted by UNICEF, the train project aims to attract millions of people to 180 train station stops. Those in remote villages will be visited by a band of cyclists distributing pamphlets and by buses carrying folk entertainers and exhibits.