Every mother who is HIV positive still has a chance to make sure that her child has a full and healthy life, said Girija Vaidyanathan, State Mission Director of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).
“You have a chance to make a difference. You can give your child a better future. Go get tested in the nearest Public Health Centre,” she added.
She was speaking at the launch of one lakh copies of Positiv+, a community newspaper dedicated exclusively to the subject of HIV/AIDS, here on Monday. The special edition of Positiv+ has been produced with the support of UNICEF and in collaboration with the South India AIDS Action Programme (SIAAP).
The current issue, the tenth since the first one was launched on December 1, 2008, focuses on the Prevention of Parent To Child Transmission of HIV (PPTCT).
The idea behind the newspaper is to provide a platform to speak about the concerns, doubts and fears surrounding HIV/AIDS and at the same time to help HIV positive people to access services, which are already available.
The Editor of the newspaper, Asma, said “Access and information are the key challenges. Once a mother is infected, there is a 30 to 40 percent chance of HIV being transmitted to the baby – either during pregnancy, during delivery or through breast milk. But with effective public health intervention, the transmission rate can be brought down below one percent.”
According to Satish Kumar, state representative of UNICEF, there has to be a congruence of efforts and services offered by the public and the private sector to create real change.
“Halting and reversing the spread of AIDS by 2015 is one of the millennium development goals. Success or failure will depend on whether programs can be converted into a public health movement,” he said.
As part of the event, a skit on the need for greater awareness and information outreach was performed by a group of college students. It was followed by a panel discussion.