ERODE: The high prevalence of HIV in Southern States has to do with better detection, Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Subbulakshmi Jagadeesan has said. Participating at the inauguration of Red Ribbon Express, which arrived in Erode on Monday for a day’s halt to spread AIDS awareness, she said the impression that one got from the figures was that there were more AIDS cases in the South, which is not true.
“Here, people have more awareness. As more people come forward to test blood there is better detection of HIV cases. This is the reason for high prevalence,” she explained and added that it also had to do with good AIDS control programmes.
Ms. Subbulakshmi was referring to a map put up aboard the Red Ribbon Express, in which the red lamp indicating high-risk category lit the entire South. She attributed the low prevalence in the North to the poor awareness level among the public.
The Minister pointed out that Tamil Nadu, which topped the chart of AIDS-affected states, had performed well to slip to the fourth position.
On the social ostracism of affected people, she said it was worse than the disease. “The affected people die more due to psychological distress caused by neglect than the syndrome.” What they required was care, kindness and acceptance from the family and society, she added.
Minister for Handlooms and Textiles N.K.K.P. Raja said preventing AIDS was in national interest. The governments had and have been waging a war against AIDS, which in the last 38 years after discovery had spread fast.
He added that the State Government and district administration would continue fighting AIDS.
Collector Mahesan Kasirajan said there should be no hesitation in testing for AIDS, and pointed out that there were different methods of transmission.
Erode Mayor K. Kumar Murugesh, Joint Director of Health V. Nagarajan, Government doctors and others participated in the function.