Battling disease

Watch: A dance performance that recreates the effects of the HIV virus on the human body

This video is part of a campaign by #endHIV to bring further awareness and donations to an HIV vaccine that it's backing.


Close to three and a half decades ago, in June 1981, aids was first identified as a disease that mortally affects human beings. In 2016, a cure for that disease is still to be found.

It is so difficult to find a cure because the HIV virus constantly mutates, thereby preventing the body's antibodies from fighting it effectively. Since its discovery, around 40 million deaths have been attributed to aids. In 2016, almost as many people are living with the HIV virus. India, with 2.1 million people living with the disease, is the third-most affected country.

Earlier this month. #endHIV launched HIVbeats, a YouTube channel where celebrities, survivors, activists talk about the disease in the hopes of bringing further awareness of its effects. One of the videos in the channel is this gorgeous minimalist dance performance that mimics how the HIV virus enters and infiltrates the body's defences.

Narrated by Academy Award-winning actress Julianne Moore and choreographed by Ryan Heffingon (who worked with pop singer Sia on the music video for Chandelier), the video shows skilled dancers enacting the motions of the virus and antibodies – although it moves from reality to hope in the end. Here, a cure is found, driving the HIV virus away.

In the videos below, members of #endHIV describe an HIV vaccine that has Sudhir Paul, from the University of Texas, has been working on for 15 years. The final proposal will shortly be taken to the USFDA, before commencing human trials.

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Decoding the symbolic threads and badges of one of India’s oldest cavalry units

The untold story of The President’s Bodyguard.

The national emblem of India; an open parachute and crossed lances – this triad of symbols representing the nation, excellence in training and valor respectively are held together by an elite title in the Indian army – The President’s Bodyguard (PBG).

The PBG badge is worn by one of the oldest cavalry units in the India army. In 1773, Governor Warren Hastings, former Governor General of India, handpicked 50 troopers. Before independence, this unit was referred to by many titles including Troops of Horse Guards and Governor General’s Body Guards (GGBG). In 1950, the unit was named The President’s Bodyguard and can be seen embroidered in the curved maroon shoulder titles on their current uniforms.

The President’s Bodyguard’s uniform adorns itself with proud colours and symbols of its 245 year-old-legacy. Dating back to 1980, the ceremonial uniform consists of a bright red long coat with gold girdles and white breeches, a blue and gold ceremonial turban with a distinctive fan and Napoleon Boots with spurs. Each member of the mounted unit carries a special 3-meter-long bamboo cavalry lance, decorated by a red and white pennant. A sheathed cavalry sabre is carried in in the side of the saddle of each trooper.

While common perception is that the PBG mainly have ceremonial duties such as that of being the President’s escort during Republic Day parade, the fact is that the members of the PBG are highly trained. Handpicked by the President’s Secretariat from mainstream armored regiments, the unit assigns a task force regularly for Siachen and UN peace keeping operations. Moreover, the cavalry members are trained combat parachutists – thus decorating the PBG uniform with a scarlet Para Wings badge that signifies that these troopers are a part of the airborne battalion of the India Army.

Since their foundation, the President’s Guard has won many battle honors. In 1811, they won their first battle honor ‘Java’. In 1824, they sailed over Kalla Pani for the first Burmese War and earned the second battle honour ‘Ava’. The battle of Maharajapore in 1843 won them their third battle honor. Consequently, the PBG fought in the main battles of the First Sikh War and earned four battle honours. Post-independence, the PBG served the country in the 1962 Indo-China war and the 1965 Indo-Pak war.

The PBG, one of the senior most regiments of the Indian Army, is a unique unit. While the uniform is befitting of its traditional and ceremonial role, the badges that augment those threads, tell the story of its impressive history and victories.

How have they managed to maintain their customs for more than 2 centuries? A National Geographic exclusive captures the PBG’s untold story. The documentary series showcases the discipline that goes into making the ceremonial protectors of the supreme commander of the Indian Armed Forces.


The National Geographic exclusive is a landmark in television and is being celebrated by the #untoldstory contest. The contest will give 5 lucky winners an exclusive pass to the pre-screening of the documentary with the Hon’ble President of India at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. You can also nominate someone you think deserves to be a part of the screening. Follow #UntoldStory on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to participate.

This article was produced by Scroll marketing team on behalf of National Geographic and not by the Scroll editorial team.