Thursday, February 14, 2013

In Brazil, using Carnaval to fight HIV

A dancer at the World AIDS Day rehearsal I attended.
This piece was originally published by the ONE Campaign on Feb. 8, 2013.

SAO PAULO, Brazil Brazilians are bracing for the six days of Carnaval. The annual bacchanalian festival held 40 days before Easter, begins this weekend across this country of almost 200 million people. Many will participate directly as musicians, dancers and support staff. Millions will watch the parades, in person or by television. Companies sponsoring Carnaval see it as an opportunity for promoting their brand and selling their products, and many will use Carnaval as a license to engage in worldly pleasures of all kinds before the deprivations of Lent.

But one company, DKT Brazil, is taking a different approach and using Carnaval to promote responsible behavior — using condoms, specifically its Prudence brand, to prevent HIV infection. Typical Carnaval sponsors are companies like Mercedes Benz, Cacau Show (chocolate), Bombril (cleaning products) and beer companies. This is apparently the first time a company has sponsored Carnaval for a social purpose.