World AIDS Day: Speakers pick awareness campaigns as weapon of choice

Say stigma associated with the disease can only be fought by understanding the disease.

Our Correspondent December 01, 2014

PESHAWAR: Speakers at a day-long conference on World AIDS Day urged civil society, social welfare organisations and educational institutions to launch awareness campaigns on HIV/AIDS.

Addressing a seminar at Gandhara Medical College on Monday, health professionals termed awareness campaigns a must, saying myths about transmission of the disease needed to be addressed at the earliest.

“You can eat, work and shake hands with HIV/AIDS patients. However, if a doctor is reluctant to do so, what do you expect from an ordinary person?” questioned Unicef Program officer Dr Inamullah Khan during his address.

He said over 17,000 people are said to be HIV/AIDS positive in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), adding people from all walks of life including students, labours and professionals suffer from the disease.

Khan said the discrimination and stigma involved were the reasons why patients refuse to register for medical assistance. He added awareness campaigns need to be launched so that the misconceptions are addressed.

Also speaking on the occasion, K-P Director Health Services Dr Ali Muhammad said relevant officials should not think they have done their job by just holding seminars, walks or press talks against HIV/AIDS.

“Social welfare department, organisations and educational institutions should also come forward and join hands with the health department to curb the disease,” the director said. He added patients should be encouraged since hesitation to come forward leads to further complications.

He said a centre for medical assistance of HIV/AIDS patients will soon be established at Lady Reading Hospital. A walk was also later held in connection with HIV/AIDS.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd, 2014.


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