Misleading AIDS info dangeraous for nation

November 29, 2010

Speakers tell roundtable
Disseminating accurate information on HIV/AIDS and their usage in daily life are the key to prevent spread of the deadly disease, panelists told a roundtable yesterday.
As there is no treatment of the disease, prevention is the only way to ward off the fatal infection, they said, adding that wrong or misleading information about it can turn out to be dangerous for the nation.
The HIV situation in the country, however, is far better than in neighbouring countries with the prevalence of HIV/AIDS one percent, they said, stressing the need for continuing the prevention programmes.
Speakers also noted that media has an immense role in filling the information gap and making the young people aware of how the killer virus is transmitted.
The roundtable titled “Jante hobe-janate hobe” (Know and let know) was jointly organised by daily Prothom Alo, Prothom Alo Bandhushava, National AIDS/STD Programme and Save the Children at Prothom Alo’s office in the capital.
“Information is the main vaccine against the disease,” said Dr Nizamuddin Ahmed, director of HIV/AIDS department of Save the Children, USA.
Talking about government measures, he said Bangladesh is the most successful country in Asia and second in the world in preventing HIV/AIDS. The knowledge about the disease has increased; usage of condoms has doubled and the topic has been incorporated in school curriculum from grade 6 to 12, he added.
Prothom Alo Joint Editor Abdul Qaiyum said the disease spreads mainly for lack of awareness. The infection rate of AIDS is increasing in Asia while it is decreasing elsewhere in the world, he added insisting that awareness is a must to fight it.
Hasan Mahmud, deputy programme manager of National AIDS/STD Programme of the government, said government has been working to prevent the disease integrating all the stakeholders. The main objective of the programme is to keep the prevalence rate at the same level, he added.
“We have to keep the process of dissemination on, as the more the people know the less the risk will be,” said Habiba Akhter Chowdhury, chairperson of PLHIV Network of Bangladesh.
She said the migrant workers who are extremely vulnerable to the disease must be informed properly about the disease before they leave for overseas jobs.
Abu Yusuf Chowdhury, chairperson of STI/AIDS Network of Bangladesh, said time has come to cut dependency on donor agencies and mobilise internal resources to continue the fight against it.
Prothom Alo Deputy Editor Anisul Haq, Dr Amzad Ali of Save the Children, noted actor Afzal Hossain, singer Fahmida Nabi, members of Bandhushava and Everest hero Musa Ibrahim also spoke.


Courtesy of The Daily Star

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