Removing Stigma Associated With AIDS  

Every year, December 1 is observed as World AIDS Day so as to raise awareness and to unite people across geographical boundaries in the fight against the pandemic.

The day was designated first in August 1988 by James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter, the public information officers for the AIDS Global Program of the World Health Organisation, to get some semblance of control over the pandemic that had claimed the lives of so many people.

On this day, as per United Nations, people show support for people living with and affected by HIV and to remember those who lost their lives to AIDS.

Nearly 42 years ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on June 5, 1981, reported an unusual fungal infection of the lungs (pneumocystis carinii pneumonia) in five gay men in Los Angeles, City in California. That was the first time the world got information about the devastating infection caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in people with a weak immune system.

World over, many functions are organised on this day. In J&K, the main function was held in Jammu. The programme was organised by Jammu and Kashmir AIDS Control Society (JKACS) in collaboration with the Padmashree Padma Sachdev Government P.G College for Women under the theme ‘Equalise: Achieving Equity to End HIV’.

Advisor to Lieutenant Governor, Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar, addressed the function and among others rightly stressed on “firm resolve by all to provide all possible handholding to the affected persons and help them live a normal life.”

A person suffering from AIDS is unfortunately often regarded as a stigma in the contemporary society and such people often become victims of ostracism, rejection and discrimination. There is need to fight this aspect of the pandemic.

Social stigma surrounding AIDS-infected people remains a challenge and the concerned must remain mindful of the scale. There is need for taking measures on a corresponding scale to ensure dignified life by the affected. Removing stigma is also important to ultimately fight against the ‘silent killer’ as affected persons will only come forward for testing and treatment once they feel no kind of segregation from the society.

Tackling HIV seriously also requires other interventions. The administration must find ways to reach concerned groups and consider targeted interventions. Continuous awareness about how it is transmitted and the right kind of treatment to affected persons is bound to prove productive in combating the disease to a larger extent.

 

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