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AIDS Awareness in Haryana : The Need for a Change

AIDS Awareness in Haryana : The Need for a Change, naya haryana, नया हरियाणा

5th September 2014

Naya Haryana

Haryana is one state, which in spite of its progress in the industrial sector, still represents a compelling case of a population that refuses to accept new mindsets and is hell bent on sticking to age old traditions that are perhaps best suited in a museum. One more example is the case of AIDS awareness in the state. Not many people in the state, especially in the rural areas, are aware of AIDS as a disease, how it happens and what it means to the person who suffers from this ailment for which a cure is yet to be found. Perhaps all that they know or care about is that the victim and his/her family needs to be ostracised socially and in any other way possible.

However, the local people are not the only ones who should be blamed for this situation. The media and the institutions that are supposed to provide health services to the rural populace are also to be blamed regarding this one. Let"s take the example of the village named Chochi. In 2012 a resident of this village named Ranbir Singh was announced by the Rohtak Medical College to have passed away from AIDS and apparently his widow and 3 daughters were also diagnosed with the same disease. However, till date none of them have been given the reports in spite of repeated visits.

The local media also played its part by spreading the news that almost every family in the village had an AIDS victim. This led to a situation where none of the villagers were able to marry off their daughters. However, the villagers have decided to stage protests and dharnas in order to vent their disgust at the whole issue. They have decided that the mindsets of people regarding this disease need to be changed. The role played by the local newspapers is more shocking. It had been stated that the deceased was a truck driver, which perhaps implied that since he was in such a profession it was inevitable that he would suffer from the disease.

Such an act of gross generalisation is shocking and betrays the middle aged mentality of people who are supposed to be institutionally educated and remain aware. They are supposed to be more responsible considering the nature of their jobs. Unfortunately that is not the case. Similarly the hospital in question needs to be put to task as well. Ranbir had visited the hospital as he was suffering from fever and tuberculosis, none of which are beyond cure. However, he was turned away without any treatment and he died the next day. He was labeled an HIV AIDS patient soon after. Such a boorish and lackadaisical attitude portrays a very poor picture of a state that wishes to be recognised as the very best in India.

However, one feels that it is the onus of the state government to correct these issues. It is supposed to take such newspapers and hospitals to task and make sure that such incidents do not repeat themselves. More than that, the present state administration in Haryana needs to make sure that it makes people more aware about the disease, about how it is transmitted and what its effects are. This can only be done through regular campaigns and visits to affected areas by prominent doctors and healthcare professionals.

It is important that the government carries out a detailed program of fact finding. To start with, it should identify which areas are highly affected. In those areas doctors and nurses need to be sent on a regular basis so that the patients can receive proper treatment. Depending on the economic condition, patients can be provided subsidised medicines. Also hospitals and care centers can be opened in the rural areas with high or higher incidence of AIDS where people can come in and receive treatment for the same. Awareness campaigns need to be organised as well in these areas.

As far as areas where lesser people are affected by this disease are concerned, efforts should be made to start awareness campaigns. In these areas the focus should be on corrective measures like how one can avoid AIDS, and also education needs to be provided on the symptoms. People also need to be made aware that it is not a disease that spreads through touching, and people who suffer from this disease should not be ostracised but rather they should be cared for and given all the encouragement that may be possible, so as to make the rest of their life a decent experience. India is not a country that is known for its health-related expenditure and Haryana is perhaps no exception. However, for a state that wants to be known as the finest of its kind in the country, such steps need to be taken quickly.

Till such massive programs are undertaken, the state will always find itself in the center of mediocrity no matter how many companies come here or how many tall buildings are built. It is the responsibility of the government to look after these issues and it needs to accept its relative lack of success in this. Efforts need to be made to improve the situation.

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