On World AIDS Awareness Day

“The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.” ~ Nathaniel Branden

December 1st is World AIDS day and the State Government [of Tamil Nadu, I’m not sure if it’s all over India or not] had asked the schools to conduct competitions for classes 9 and 11, in order to spread awareness among the students. The contests include essay writing, drawing and oration. The topics seem a little too boring [for example, the topics for drawing competition are – ‘Role of discipline for a happy life’, ‘An AIDS-free world is in our hands (I’m literally translating from Tamil)’ and ‘The Government’s role in preventing AIDS’] for any normal student [and by normal, I mean the average kid], such topics will seem really unexciting. At least, they did to me [I spent 2 or so hours grudgingly to complete a drawing which as my mom puts it, “resembles a little child’s doodle”].

Anyway, returning to what I was about to say before I entered into my lament…
Even though I’m not exactly a fan of the present Government, I have to say that it’s taking some sort of effort to spread awareness in the country. This is the present case of HIV prevalence in India:
It is now thought that around 2.3 million people in India are living with HIV. Of these, an estimated 39% are female and 3.5% are children. Back-calculation suggests that HIV prevalence in India may have declined slightly in recent years, though the epidemic is still growing in some regions and population groups. [From http://www.avert.org/india-hiv-aids-statistics.htm]

We can see plainly how essential awareness is. What really troubles me is, when my English teacher talked about the competitions being held for AIDS awareness, she sounded as if they were mostly for an eye-wash and just to convince the inspectors who would oversee the contests being held. This was how we [about 5 students from class XI] were made aware of the whole competition – On 30th November, just a day before… that too in the last period, in the teacher’s office. I wouldn’t really have cared where the announcement had been made, if she [the teacher] had not explained to us why she didn’t say a word about it in the morning. She said that to talk about it in front of the class would be embarrassing and not quite appropriate. I almost opened my mouth to reply, but closed it again, as I thought it may sound rude, ‘talking back to teachers’ [something that’s made me realize how little freedom of speech kids have].

It’s rather preposterous. Why would anyone feel ‘uncomfortable’ talking about a disease against which people have got to be warned? I guess all teachers, excluding those who deal with biology, feel likewise. If teachers of urban areas think in such ways, I’m not sure about the situation in the village classrooms… or in the village households, which is rather a less likely place where people encourage spreading of awareness regarding AIDS.

The first thing anyone has to do to prevent the thing from spreading more is to make people understand that it’s a disease and not a blasphemy that it shouldn’t be discussed [even if 2.3 million people in the country are dying of it].

1 comment:

  1. maggie.danhakl@healthline.com28 September, 2014 01:19


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