Through his lens, a 23-yr-old fights a dreaded disease

Harit Kumar is concerned, about life - life chances, life quality, life expectancy - matters of life, and of course, death. "But not before catching the disease and nipping it in the bud," says the 23-year-old student of science who is pursuing his masters in bio-informatics from DAV College, Chandigarh. Drawn towards AIDS, its study, research, cause and effect ever since he was a child, Kumar on this World Aids Day (December 1) screened his debut documentary titled 'I am Condom'. He wears a tee with the same inscription, and so does his team to the screening at Hotel ParkView in Sector 24.

About an hour long, the documentary is based on transmittable diseases like HIV/AIDS, Thalassemia and how basic medical testing before marriage is important. Kumar plays an HIV patient, and the documentary also has his mother, Bimla Rani and sisters Neerja and Poornima, and friend Aishna Jaswal in it.

Ankit Arya, a B Tech student, has co-directed the film while Sandip Dhiman and Akanksha Sharma have played the roles of social activists. Shot over a month in Chandigarh and the region, the documentary has interviews with HIV positive people, doctors, specialists, ministers, a demand for a National Condom Day on the lines of World Aids Day, need for sex education in schools, for regular blood tests, etc. "More than 34 million people live with AIDS all over the world, and there is an urgent need to stop this epidemic," says Kumar.

With Kumar at the helm of affairs, these youngsters are driven, to create awareness, to talk and reduce the stigma shrouding the disease which according to Kumar is worse than cancer. "People don't die of AIDS, they die of the stigma attached to it, the ostracisation from society, the unacceptance," says Kumar.

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