Up to 300 Moroccan youths and children joined their brushes to sketch the world's largest painting to drum up support for their campaign. "It took us up to three months to set the stage for this paining, financially and logistically," Abdessamad Oussayh, head of the Moroccan Youth Association for combating AIDS (AMJCS), told IslamOnline.net.
The 250-square meter-long canvas was exhibited on April 29-30 in the Nevada public square in Casablanca. It is made up of small drawings that were assembled together to form the super-painting with the helping brush of famed Moroccan plastic artists. Even the painting's miscellany of colors and shapes had a message to communicate, Oussayh said.
"Many different colors were used as AIDS too comes in many forms and evolves on daily basis."
He said they also reflected peoples of different colors and races, shed light on how the virus is transmitted and symbolized an array of different viewpoints on AIDS patients. "We had yellow, blue and red as the basic colors just as AIDS is transmitted through sexual intercourse, blood transfusion and HIV-positive pregnancy."
Oussayh said the painting is part of the Printemps sans SIDA (Spring without AIDS) campaign championed by AMJCS.
"Volunteers from different NGOs are making field visits to raise the people's awareness about AIDS," he said. "We focus on susceptible segments in society like youths, prostitutes and street children," he said.
The AMJCS organizes an annual summer festival to galvanize public enthusiasm to combat the virus. It estimated that there are between 16,000 to 25,000 HIV positive in Morocco. The AMJCS was established in 1993 to be the first youth association concerned with spreading awareness about AIDS so as to put a curb on AIDS infections in the country.
Oussayh regretted that many people look down on AIDS patients.
"It is time we changed our derogatory and accusatory outlook on AIDS patients. We should treat AIDS-stricken people like other patients," he said.
The young activist said it is a stereotype that AIDS patients have been infected with the monstrous disease through extramarital affairs.
"We should look at AIDS patients as symbolized in this painting; an integral part of our society."
It is not permissible for Muslims to treat AIDS patients differently just because they have AIDS, according to IOL Shari `ah researchers.
Instead, they should be treated kindly and given whatever medical treatment and care they need.
Amnesty International said in a recent report that despite active measures to stem the spread of the worldwide epidemic too many people live ignorant of prevention methods and deprived of treatment.
There are over 40 million infected person with HIV virus and more than 8,000 people dying daily of AIDS, according to UN estimates.
Africa has been hit harder by the HIV virus than any other continent.
More than 17 million Africans have died from AIDS and another 25 million are HIV positive, approximately 1.9 million of whom are children, according to the Joint UN Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
Sub-Saharan Africa is home to more than 60% of people living with HIV worldwide.