Kites and Red Ribbons in the Sky of Tehran
Every year on the occasion of the World AIDS Day on December 1 st, UNODC Iran organizes activities with the purpose of raising public awareness and reducing stigma and discrimination against people who are living with HIV/AIDS. This year, the Office combined fun with education on the issue of HIV/AIDS through organizing the "Kites and Red Ribbons in the Sky of Tehran" festival.
The event was held on Friday 29 November 2013 at Pardisan Park, Tehran, which is famous for attracting kite flyers and runners on a regular basis. It aimed to address the general public, specifically families and their youngsters, in order to raise the level of their knowledge on the issue of HIV/AIDS and the negative effects of stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS on the relevant prevention, treatment, and care efforts.
In addition to the ready-made kites ornamented with red ribbons, which are the universal symbol of awareness and support for those living with HIV, people attending the festival had the opportunity to design their own kites and write personal messages and mottos on the subject of HIV/AIDS on their creations. Moreover, brochures on the subject of HIV/AIDS were available to the public at various information booths, and a team of trained university students offered these brochures to everyone present at the park and answered their basic questions on HIV/AIDS. The UNODC HIV/AIDS Advisor, Dr. Setareh Mohsenifar, was also present at the Festival to answer more specific question.
The festival was welcomed by the visitors to the park who expressed their appreciation for such initiatives offering important information on HIV/AIDS in an entertaining and interactive manner and in fun and relaxed surroundings, particularly that kite flying is a very popular game in the country.
"Small steps such as this event count as great initiatives in decreasing stigma and discrimination against people who are living with HIV", stated the Representative of UNODC in Iran, Mr. Leik Boonwaat, who was present at the event, highlighting the need for continued efforts towards achieving the three zeros - zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths - by 2015.
The Kites and Red Ribbons Festival was one of three activities which were organized by UNODC Iran to commemorate World AIDS Day 2013, in cooperation with the Drug Control Headquarters of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The other two activities included a Press Festival on HIV/AIDS , recognizing the works of people active in the Press on HIV/AIDS, and the "Yellow Taxis and Red Ribbons", which aimed to address the general public through the taxi drivers who are in direct contact with people every day, in order to raise their level of knowledge on the issue of HIV/AIDS, and the related stigma and discrimination.