For how long, this 'Ostrich's Head in the Sand' approach

A few months back, India, to the false relief of many an Indian, was declared to be a country with the second highest number of AIDS patients and not the highest as was thought to be. The highest number belonging to South Africa.

Tackling a disease like AIDS was never going to be easy. First of all, there is no vaccine found yet to prevent the disease. To compound matters one of the major ways this disease spreads is unsafe sex. Making matters worse is the fact that, the three letter word, 'SEX' is a taboo in India. Now, it is understandable if this aversion to discuss such topics comes from illiterate and rural people - though, let me clarify, being illiterate or a country folk does not necessarily imply ignorance - but it is really appalling to see educated people, even doctors harbouring all kinds of wrong notions regarding the disease.

I see two reasons for this malaise - lack of information or awareness, even among the so called informed, and the obstinate mindset of many. Considering that AIDS is gaining epidemic proportions in our country, the governments, at the centre and at the states, are expected to spread awareness on a war footing. It is obvious that the cost of preventing a disease like AIDS is much less when compared to the cost of treating it. But treating AIDS conveniently brushes the entire issue of sex education under the carpet, not to the mention that unsafe physical contact is just one of the ways in which this deadly disease spreads.

As this article (which was the immediate reason for this post) shows, governments are not ready to take long term decisions in interest of the people. For them, it is easier to be morally (sic!) correct than to face difficult issues head on and then come up with innovative and effective solutions.

I was sitting in a hospital waiting to donate blood when I saw this poster by National Aids Control Organization (NACO). I do not remember the exact message but what it was trying to say is that AIDS can be prevented by being faithful to a partner. Though it may reduce the possibilities, a dangerous assumption that this message makes is that everyone will be faithful. My point is that it is very important to refrain from one-liners and get the entire message across. Half knowledge could be as dangerous if not more than no knowledge.

About people's attitude, it is very ironical that cases of ignorance also emanate from Kerala, which prides itself as a state with highest literacy rate and enviable social indicators.

There are lot of organizations working towards helping in treatment of AIDS and spreading awareness and everything else in between. It is very important for us to first educate ourselves on this topic and then spread awareness.

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  1. hey buddy...i think putting some youtube videos wud serve an eye-opener as well:

  2. Hey Abhi, Thanks for the suggestions. Will surely incorporate them. Meanwhile i am also searching for a website that gives me a concise information regarding HIV AIDS; how it spreads, the myths surrounding it and the actual facts. Let me know if you know of any.

  3. Hey Aish...

    I truly appreciate your gesture to blog about certain social issues prevalent in India and which needs genuine attention!!

    What else could be a better platform to begin with... other than this..!!

    Good Going!!

    BTW, Just found wiki link quite informative..you may refer though..http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AIDS!

  4. Thanks Shabnam. Yeah I agree, my blog, at least for now has a limited audience and many of them are already aware of the stuff that I am talking about. I do not have any concrete idea right now, though I really want to hit one soon. Let us discuss is sometime.