NEED FOR JOINT FIGHT

AIDS being a global catastrophe, an issue with economic, social and security implications, therefore there is a need for adopting a joint strategy by all sections of the society to eradicate this menace from the globe. Though the role of government and its agencies, besides media is most significant in this regard yet the significance of the people at large is no less, especially in view of the unnecessary stigma attached to the victims of this dreadful disease due to ignorance among the common people. Majority of people have adopted an attitude of maintaining distance from the victims as if it is not their but only victims’ problem. It needs to be realized by one and all that it is the life and death challenge of present times with which every individual stands affected even if all are not infected. 1st December hasbeen designated World AIDS Day every year since 1988 and dedicated to raise awareness about AIDS, one of the world’s most destructive pandemics in the history, itself speaks of the concern and importance of the fight against AIDS at the international level. The day being an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS and support the people living with the HIV, it is time for the people in India too to be proactive partners in this global fight in getting it to zero. To complement the global World AIDS Day 2017 campaign which promotes the theme “Right to health”, the World Health Organization will highlight the need for all 36.7 million people living with HIV and those who are vulnerable and affected by the epidemic, to reach the goal of universal health coverage. Under the slogan “Everybody counts”, WHO will advocate for access to safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines, including medicines, diagnostics and other health commodities as well as health care services for all people in need, while also ensuring that they are protected against financial risks. There is a need to achieve zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS related deaths. The targets set during the past years as well as this year which though seem difficult but are not impossible to achieve if the various agencies come together to work in unison for the common goal. The first and foremost step in this direction is to end the social stigma, prejudice and discrimination meted out to these patients which is possible only with increased awareness and education on the issue among masses. With individuals, government and civil society engaging in meaningful and effective collaboration to achieve success in achieving the goal, Media has the most important role to play in raising awareness by focusing attention on what is being done and what more needs to be done. In fighting the menace of HIV/AIDS that is directly or indirectly affecting one and all, media has been doing an impressive job but much more needs to be done. Vision, dedication and above all the creative programming that truly engages audiences with riveted attention should be the hallmark. Media must build alliances and partnerships to put pressure on those at the helm of governance to take the disease seriously and provide to the people the necessary information required to protect them. In the global AIDS meeting in Vancouver, scientists shared evidence that “triple-combination antiretroviral treatment” can prevent AIDS-related deaths which means that an HIV-infected person can lead a normal life on treatment. This particular fact and information needs to be disseminated among masses in which only media can play a key role. While working to combat this disastrous and growing emergency, let’s all use every tool at our disposal in reversing the HIV/AIDS progression.