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NACO Campaign to Stress on Morality

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In a shift from its years old policy of advocating abstinence-be faithful-use condoms (ABC) to keep AIDS at bay, the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) is now all set to preach morality, asking people to stay away from extramarital and premarital sex.

The move comes after a meeting of the organisation with Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan last week where he reportedly urged the department to infuse some moral lessons in its campaign to create awareness about the disease.

“The minister feels there should be a moral component to creating awareness. For example, in injectible drug users we have traditionally provided them with injectors but not talked about the need to stay off drugs. NACO has always talked about the need to be faithful, to stick to a single partner, in the battle against AIDS. In our upcoming messages, we will also talk about the need to stay away from premarital or extramarital sex. There is no harm in strengthening the moral fabric of society,” Dr V K Subburaj, Secretary of the Department of AIDS Control, told The Indian Express.

NACO Campaign to Stress on Morality

He said this would not mean any less emphasis on measures like Condom dispensation or distribution of injectors as these are targeted more towards high-risk groups like commercial sex workers and injectible drug users.

Harsh Vardhan has been quoted in a New York Times blog as having said that in concentrating on the Condom aspect, the AIDS control programme had sent a “wrong” message that illicit relationships are alright provided protection is used. In a clarification issued from the US, the minister Wednesday denied discounting the role of condoms in AIDS prevention.

“Marital fidelity is the best insurance — state has a duty to reiterate this fact. My statement on informing people on the supremacy of fidelity as an AIDS prevention measure is not only a piece of cultural advice but also a scientific one.

So as minister of health I find it justified to include this simple message in the communication strategy of the government’s anti-AIDS programmes. Condoms promise safe sex, but the safest sex is through faithfulness to one’s partner.

Prevention is always better than cure,” Harsh Vardhan said.

Subburaj said it was a casual comment made by the minister that had been blown out of proportion.


Source
Indian Express
27 June 2014
Pune, India
By : Abantika Ghosh

Disclaimer: The news story on this page is the copyright of the cited publication.This has been reproduced here for visitors to review, comment on and discuss. This is in keeping with the principle of ’Fair dealing’ or ’Fair use’. Visitors may click on the publication name, in the news story, to visit the original article as it appears on the publication’s website.

HIV cases down 36 per cent, AIDS deaths up 150 per cent in 5 years

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The number of HIV positive cases in the state has gone down by 36 per cent in five years under a surveillance programme undertaken by the Maharashtra State AIDS Control Society. The number of cases of vector-borne diseases like malaria and chikungunya has also gone down, but cases of dengue fever has shot up, according to the latest economic survey.

HIV cases down 36 per cent, AIDS deaths up 150 per cent in 5 years

The survey stated that the number of HIV positive patients fell from 72,000 in 2009 to 46,000 in 2013. The number of AIDS cases also reduced during the period from 19,389 to 10,670.

But the number of deaths due to AIDS has gone up one and a half times from 1,183 in 2009 to 3,168 deaths in 2013.

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Helping HIV Positive Children Embrace Life

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Group named `So What' is helping patients between 10 and 22 yrs of age deal with the virus and inculcate a positive outlook

Being a child with HIV can be a traumatic experience. Now, a group named `So What' aims to help patients, aged between 10 and 22, combat psychological issues and embrace life.

It is formed by a city NGO, Prayas, which is run by Dr Sanjeevani and Dr Vinay Kulkarni.

“This group is especially for those who are born with HIV and reaching adolescence,“ said Dr Sanjeevani Kulkarni, director of the NGO. “Our counselors noticed that many children show withdrawal symptoms and depression on reach ing puberty. When we spoke to them, we realised that they had issues and pre-conceived ideas related to family life.“

“They thought that they could never find happiness or love. While healthy children came up with many questions in a Sex Education workshop conducted by us two years ago, children born with HIV kept to themselves. This led us to start this group where they can share their life and discuss issues,“ she added.

The success of these workshops are evident as two HIV positive couples have opened up enough to fall in love and are planning to get married. “At the workshop, we educate them about sexuality and teach them to stick to medications, importance of drug adherence and positive approach towards life.“

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Maharashtra Government Gives HIV+ Mothers 3-Drug Shot in the Arm

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The combination will allow lactating mothers to nurse their infants without the risk of transmitting infection

Now, HIV+ women in Maharashtra will get their first shot at breast feeding their babies without the fear of transmitting the virus. From December 1, the Maharashtra State AIDS Control Society (MSACS) will roll out a scheme administering a combination of three drugs, instead of the current practice of the single oral dosage of Nevirapine at delivery and another one post-natal. The medication will start from the 14th week of pregnancy and is expected to shrink the risk of transmission to a negligible two per cent.

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‘Vihaan’ to be launched on World AIDS Day at 2 care centres in city

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Vihaan, a support project for people living with HIV (PLHIV), will be launched in Pune on the occasion of World AIDS Day (December 1). Aimed at improving the quality of life of PLHIV, 35 care and support centres have been set up across Maharashtra and Goa, including two centres in the city.

Dr Anjana Palve, Programme Manager, said as part of National AIDS Control Programme–IV, care support centres (CSCs) had been set up across the country. "In Maharashtra and Goa, the centres have been set up since August. However, the project will be officially launched in December," Palve said.

Vihaan will complement NACP– IV's plan to put in place a quality care and support system by setting up 350 centres in India. These CSCs will be linked to high–burden Anti Retroviral Treatment (ART) centres in a phased manner.

"There is still a great deal of stigma and discrimination that PLHIV have to face. Though access to clinical services has improved under the NACP–III programme, not all infected people receive comprehensive care and support that address pyscho–social needs," she added.

‘Vihaan’ to be launched on World AIDS Day at 2 care centres in city

Till March 2013, out of 7,39,102 people tested positive for HIV, only 3,22,023 people had been registered for care and support, said Manoj Pardeshi, General Secretary of National Coalition of People Living with HIV in India.

"The CSC will serve as a comprehensive unit for treatment, support and positive living for PLHIV," Pardeshi said. CSCs will be run by civil society partners, including district–level networks and non–government organisations. Manavya, an orphanage that takes care of 57 HIV positive children, has been identified as one of the CSCs.

Palve added that though there were various schemes under the Women and Child Department and Social Welfare Department, PLHIV found it difficult to avail its benefits. We will integrate the PLHIV into the system so that they can avail the services, she added.

NACP–IV is aimed at zero infection, zero stigma and zero death. At present, there are 2.39 PLHIV in the country with a prevalence rate of 0.31 per cent, Palve said.

Vihaan is supported by Global Fund and implemented in collaboration with Alliance India Network of People living with HIV in Maharashtra, Maharashtra State AIDS Control Society, among others.

Source
Indian Express
09 Nov 2013,
Pune, India
by - Anuradha Mascharenhas

Disclaimer: The news story on this page is the copyright of the cited publication. This has been reproduced here for visitors to review, comment on and discuss. This is in keeping with the principle of ’Fair dealing’ or ’Fair use’. Visitors may click on the publication name, in the news story, to visit the original article as it appears on the publication’s website.

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