The display of truck art dealing with the prevention of HIV and AIDS concluded here on Sunday featuring the social issue through vibrant hues and symbolic expressions.
Art pieces on truck art were displayed spreading the message among the people through the language of art.
The show was based on the theme ‘Driving on empty - a truck art based HIV and AIDS prevention and advocacy initiative,’ by AMAL Human Development Network at Nomad Gallery.
The initiative was aimed at advancing the discourse on engaging men and boys for prevention of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and reducing HIV and AIDS vulnerabilities in Pakistan.
The combination of research and work with selected truck drivers and artists has resulted in producing a series of moving testimonials and panels that express the experiences, hopes and fears of people in a sensitive and unique manner, the organisers said.
The study of masculinities within the gender discourse is critical to understand the underlying root causes that sustain and promote masculine norms leading to increased vulnerability. Engaging men as partners in the efforts against HIV and AIDS thus becomes the most reliable way to change the course of the epidemic.
The testimonials of truck drivers have been translated into art work to advocate for their vulnerabilities and voice, besides advocating for a need of designing programmes and interventions with a ‘Masculinity’ lens.
HIV and AIDS remains a major development priority after three decades as the pandemic affects all races, cultures and socio-economic groups directly and indirectly.
Pakistan is considered low prevalence country with regard to HIV and AIDS. However, fear of social exclusions, stigma, rigid gender and cultural norms are contributing factors to the underreporting of HIV positive cases in the country.
The IBBS (Integrated Biological and Behavioural Surveillance) survey conducted by the Government of Pakistan and the HIV and AIDS Surveillance Project (HASP) clearly suggests that HIV prevalence among key affected population groups continues to rise with an average prevalence of 27.2 percent among injecting drug users (IDUs) in 2011.
Fuelled by poverty, illiteracy, demographics, social stigma, discrimination, weak health systems and more importantly prevailing gender disparities and exclusion of men and boys to fight against AIDS, the pandemic is now claiming more and more lives around the globe.