Workshop held on National Policy on HIV/AIDS

A three-minute documentary featuring HIV-positive people appears to have had a deep impact on the audience at a workshop on the National Policy on HIV/AIDS here on Tuesday.

The event, which was jointly organised by the AIDS Prevention Society and Population Services International, was attended by officials from the Labour Department and representatives of various labour unions.

Before screening the film, the audience was asked by the emcee to describe an HIV-positive person. “They are generally weak,” said one while another said that HIV-positive people had joint problems.

Most others said that those living with HIV would have recurring fever and other ailments.

But their misconceptions were put to rest after watching the documentary. All the people in the documentary were HIV-positive. Although many of them have been in that condition for more than a decade, they were fully fit, contrary to what the audience had earlier thought.

In the documentary, the HIV-positive persons talked about the prejudice they had to deal with in their daily lives, particularly at their workplaces. One woman said that a doctor had refused to deliver her baby at the very last moment because she was HIV-positive.

“The doctor berated me saying that I am bringing an orphan into the world,” the woman said.

The message that the documentary tried to explain the difference between being HIV positive and the onset of AIDS.

Focus

The focus was on creating awareness among department officials and labour union members. because 90 per cent of the reported HIV infections are from the most productive age group of 15 to 49 years. According to a document compiled by the Ministry of Labour and Employment, which was circulated among the participants, India has a working population of over 400 million.The participants were informed of the need to create awareness about basic human rights of HIV positive persons not only among workers but also among employers.

They were also informed that expanding HIV/AIDS policy and programmes in the workplace is a key component in the Phase-III (2007-2012) of the National AIDS control programme.

Keywords: HIVAIDS

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