Ring a bell for AIDS awareness

The Israeli group's grassroots campaign hopes that the gesture will help to raise disease awareness.

condom people AIDS 298.8 (photo credit: Courtesy Photo)
condom people AIDS 298.8
(photo credit: Courtesy Photo)
An ambitious idea aimed at raising awareness about AIDS education that originated in Israel will resonate around the world this week. Literally. On Thursday, December 1st - to mark World AIDS day - over a million people worldwide were expected to ring a bell for at least 60 seconds at 8:00 pm GMT. The grassroots campaign - called Bells 4 AIDS - is the brainchild of the Israeli aid group The Jerusalem AIDS Project (JAIP) which hopes that the gesture will help to raise awareness of the disease. The group is planning to set a new World Guinness Record in bell ringing for a public health cause, and anyone can participate. "We're requesting something simple. Gather together and ring a bell at the designated time - any bell. It could be a school bell, church bell, or fire department bell. Or it could be your own house bell, or your neighbor's bell," said Dr. Inon Schenker, an HIV/AIDS prevention specialist and the head of JAIP. "Our greatest reward would be to hear 1,000,000 bells ringing around the world, making a collective noise for more awareness about HIV/AIDS and share the responsibility in prevention and care," added JAIP chairperson Hanny Epelboim, who devised the original plan for the bell ringing. People who are unable to locate a working bell can alternatively visit the www.bells4aids.org and click on the electronic bell on the website. Every day 14,000 new HIV infections occur globally and over 40 million people are infected with the AIDS virus, according to Schenker. "We hope this event will cement solidarity of concerned individuals - with no political or financial agenda - who feel that with so many millions of people infected by AIDS and suffering from this dreadful disease, it's time to take a stand. There's a lack of human and financial resources, as well as prevention, education, and care and support for those infected. We hope this will create solidarity and an affiliation of ideas," he told ISRAEL21c. The author is editorial director of the Israel21c Web site.
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