Ever wondered how to discuss issues related to HIV and AIDS with your children? You probably wished their teachers did that and spared you the effort. Very soon, teacher trainees going to over 750 teacher training institutes in the State will be trained in this aspect.

The Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society (TANSACS), in collaboration with the Directorate of Teacher Education, Research and Training (DTERT), is inaugurating Red Ribbon Clubs in all government, aided and self-financing teacher training institutes in the State on August 11.

According to Ganesh Kumar, technical officer (youth), National AIDS Control Organisation, the clubs would hold activities such as awareness camps, sensitisation programmes to combat stigma, talks by HIV positive persons and visits to Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres.

“The teachers will be visiting schools and interacting with students during their training, and they will also be working with children from the time they pass out of the institute. It is very important they are sensitised to the issue of HIV/AIDS,” he told The Hindu.

Alex Parimalam, joint director (Information, Education and Communication), TANSACS, said a curriculum titled ‘Celebrating life' would be followed in the clubs. “It will have sections on Adolescence and growing up, mental health, HIV, WHO-recommended life skills and drug abuse.”

Emphasis would also be given to blood donation to encourage youngsters to donate blood, officials said.

A senior official of the DTERT said that the setting up of Red Ribbon Clubs would be valuable to the teacher-trainees.

“It is important that such aspects of health are covered during their pre-service training, so that they are in a better position to address related issues when they actually begin interacting with students as teachers, on a regular basis.”

Also, it becomes important for teachers to be educated on these issues, as they can be sensitive while teaching children with HIV/AIDS, too. The Red Ribbon Clubs would be inaugurated in all DIETs, and teaching training institutes, the official added.

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Meera SrinivasanJune 28, 2012

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