"No condoms, no sex!"
'Richard Gere, starting a chant among more than 15,000 sex workers gathered in Mumbai, India, for an HIV awareness event in mid January. Like many American actors, Gere has taken on a pet cause--to spread the message of HIV prevention to the average citizen of India via his Heroes Project organization. Such events, which are generally targeted at India's highest-risk groups of prostitutes and truck drivers, have been successful in increasing knowledge about the disease on the Asian subcontinent, according to Gere. 'Before, there was a total lack of knowledge among sex workers about HIV and even about their own bodies,' he says. 'Now there is a radical change. When sex workers speak of condoms as a norm, it is a powerful statement. It empowers them.'