‘Counselling by social workers may increase lifespan'

Empathetic counselling by social workers may increase the lifespan of HIV positive people by alleviating their psychological burden. Speakers at the national conference organised by the Department of Social Work, Bharathidasan University, emphasised the significance of counselling on par with medical treatment.

The government intends to bring down new HIV infections to zero by 2050, said T. Mohanasundaram, Joint Director, Health Services, asserting the need to fulfil one of the Millennium Development Goals of halting and reversing spread of HIV-AIDS by 2015.

Collective action to fight discrimination of people infected and affected by HIV-AIDS is a pressing need, he said at the conference on ‘Working with Youth, Women and Children with HIV-AIDS: Strategic Interventions for Inclusive Development' organised along with Red Ribbon Club and Tamil Nadu AIDS Control Society (TANSACS),Chennai.

Around 80 research papers presented in eight sessions touched upon various topics, including impact of social exclusion of children, women and youth with HIV/AIDS, vulnerability and challenges, fighting stigma and discrimination, social awareness among people, role of media and legal services and human rights issues related to HIV and AIDS.

Earlier, Fr. A.Raj, Director, Don Bosco Foundation, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, inaugurated the conference. S. Dhanapaul, head, Department of Microbiology, K.A.P. Viswanatham Government Medical College, delivered the keynote address. K.Shanmugan, State Consultants-Youth Affairs, TANSACS, Chennai, N.Rajavel, Assistant Professor, and R.Mangaleswaran, organizing secretary, spoke.