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MALI: Using telephones to fight HIV/AIDS

JOHANNESBURG, 7 December 2004 (PlusNews) - Mali has a new tool to help it curb the spread of HIV/AIDS - the cellphone. The international NGO, Population Services International (PSI), has launched a campaign using cellular technology to educate Malians about the pandemic.

In partnership with a local cellphone company, Ikatel, free text messages with PSI-created health slogans will be sent twice a month to each of the company's 350,000 clients. As part of the campaign, HIV/AIDS and malaria prevention slogans will also be printed on at least one million of the pre-paid phone cards most used by low-income customers.

Messages such as "Anyone can get HIV - everyone can prevent it" and "Protect your family against malaria - use an insecticide-treated mosquito net" will raise awareness and promote the use of these essential aids.

According to PSI, the products and services offered in Mali could prevent an estimated 3,200 HIV infections and 78,000 unintended pregnancies.

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[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
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