2 June,Dr. Avnish Jolly :Dr Denis Broun, UNAIDS country coordinator, India, said 33.2 million people are living with HIV worldwide. Around 7,000 people are infected every day. He focused on the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS. "There is a need for people with HIV to lead a normal life and contribute to society, regardless of their HIV status," he said on Sunday.
Dr Denis Broun speaking at the two-day religious Hindu leaders’ caucus ‘Faith In Action’, organized by the Art of Living in association with United Nations Aids Control (UNAIDS) and Asian Interfaith Network on Aids. The workshop intends to mobilize religious opinion leaders to use their trust to provide an emotional and moral support to the afflicted population. The meet saw 68 saints and over 200 delegates come together for the first time to jointly draw up an action plan to combat HIV/AIDS. Among the gathering were leaders from Mata Vaishnoo Devi, chief priest of Kamakhya temple, Assam; saints from Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Iskcon, Manipur and Vrindavan and the southern states.
According to Sujatha Rao, Director General of National AIDS Control Organization (NACO), Thirty-five Lac people living with HIV, 30%are in the age group of 15 to 29 years and 40% are women, said. Report reflects incidence of HIV/AIDS among youth in the country is on the rise. She also highlighted concerns over increasing cases of youngsters taking to drugs. She attributed this to breakdown in families, lack of direction in life and low self-esteem. HIV/AIDS a "developmental problem that has become a social problem", she said it is emerging as a behavioural and moral issue. "But we are better off when compared to Durban, where every fourth person is infected with HIV. The lifespan of people in some places in Africa has come down from 65 years to 42 years. We have been able to contain the disease to some extent," she said.
Dinesh Ghodke, Director of World Alliance for Youth Empowerment, spoke on the four ABCD approaches that should be followed. It includes awareness, breath, care and compassion and de-addiction. The youth programme so far has been able to reach nearly 55,000 youths, he said.
Noted theatre personality Tom Alter stressed to that drama is very important medium to spread awareness about the disease. Visual impact plays vital role for Information, Education and Communication.
On this occasion J V R Prasada Rao, Director of UNAIDS, Regional Support Team for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok, said it has been 25 years since scientists identified the virus but there is no vaccine and no cure for HIV/AIDS. "About 90% of the women get infected with HIV/AIDS from their husbands. Thus, there is a need for behavioral control and change in attitude among men. Hinduism can help as it advocates virtues, value in life and tolerance," he said.