ISLAMABAD — Nearly half of the youth under the age of 25 are vulnerable to HIV infection and account for half of all the new infection cases. The fast changing social, olitical and economic surroundings and glamourous projection of western lifestyle by the media, is responsible for this increase in HIV cases.
This was disclosed by participants of a sensitisation session for media professionals organised by SACHET (Society for the Advancement of Community Health, Education and Training) under its health advocacy project DoSTI (Dare To Sensitize, Train and Inform) here Thursday.
VJs, DJs, hosts, presenters, producers from TV, radio and journalists were present at the session on the deadly syndrome called AIDS and discussed how media can be an effective tool in curbing this menace.
Dr Rakhshinda Perveen, executive vice president of SACHET welcoming the participants of the session said that HIV prevalence though low and not so threatening in Pakistan, but due to the country’s high-risk a status, there is dire need of introducing a proactive approach towards the issue.
She was of the view that media, both electronic as well as print, with its reach and impact can be one of the most effective tools for creation of sensitization and awareness among the people.
Media needs more sensitization, awareness and a positive attitude towards sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS, Rakhshanda added. Saleemullah Baig of SACHET in his interactive presentation told the participants of their HIV vulnerability by presenting facts and figures on HIV prevalence situation in Pakistan He said that common modes of HIV transmission are blood transfusion, unprotected sexual activity, mother to child and reusage of syringes. He was critical of hospital waste management in our society, which is left without any proper disposal.
He cited the example of Muhammad Asim, an HIV positive, especially invited from Lahore, who got the infected while working in a syringe disposal centre. “Gender and AIDS,” a SACHET production was screened after the presentation. The viedeo, first of its kind, on the issue in Pakistan, was telecasted by PTV and PTV World in 2000.
A discussion followed the viedeo screening in which the participants discussed various aspects of media involvement in creation of sensitization and awareness among their viewers and listeners.