Special Correspondent

“Police Department involved in programmes for creating awareness”

VELLORE: Women students should know and discuss the facts relating to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), N. Arivuselvam, Superintendent of Police, Vellore district, said here on Monday.

Speaking at a seminar for women college students organised by the Field Publicity Office, Vellore, office of the Deputy Director of Health Services (DDHS), Vellore, and the National Service Scheme (NSS) of Dhanabagyam Krishnaswamy Mudaliar College for Women , Mr. Arivuselvam said that women students still hesitate to talk about AIDS. They should know the scientific facts about AIDS so as to create awareness of AIDS among themselves and in society, which was not a disease but a deficiency syndrome, similar to vitamin deficiency.

The Police Department was at present involved in programmes aimed at creating awareness of AIDS. Sensitisation programmes for police personnel had been conducted already. The police would not prevent non-governmental organisations from providing consultation to commercial sex workers. “Integrated efforts are required to control AIDS,” he said.

Inaugurating the programme, S. Rajasekaran, DDHS, Vellore, said that AIDS could be controlled only through creating awareness. Out of the 17,000 persons who were subjected to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) test in the camps conducted under the `Varumun Kappom’ (preventive health) scheme in Vellore district, 44 tested positive for HIV.

T. Sivakumar, Field Publicity Officer, who delivered the keynote address, said that ‘Empowered to Empower, let us take the leadership’ was the theme of the World AIDS Day this year. The World Health Organisation had targeted to provide universal care, protection and treatment to all HIV/AIDS-affected persons by 2010. At present, only 31 per cent of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) got treatment. There were 3.32 crore PLWHA at the end of 2007. An additional 25 lakh persons were infected with HIV, and 21 lakh died of AIDS that year alone throughout the world, he said.

Raja Sivanandam, Deputy Director of Medical Services (Tuberculosis), said that the relationship between AIDS and TB was very strong. Besides, TB was the first opportunistic infection afflicting HIV-positive persons, and TB was the main cause of AIDS deaths. Only 10 per cent of non-HIV persons had the chance of contracting TB, people with HIV have 60 per cent chance of getting the disease.

K. Gopalarathinam, District Entomologist, said that interested persons could avail themselves of free HIV testing in any of the 32 integrated counselling and testing centres in Vellore district.

K. Revathy, Principal, DKM College for Women, presided. V. Prabha, NSS Programme Officer, welcomed the gathering. L. Umamaheswari, NSS Programme Officer, proposed a vote of thanks.