Hyderabad. October 31, 2006 : India is the second most populated country in the world after China, and perhaps the foremost challenge for public health experts is to contain the spread of HIV/AIDS amongst the population. UNICEF believes that one of the most effective ways to control the situation is by raising awareness about the disease and its consequences among young people in the country – by far the most vulnerable group.
And this was the united call at the launch of the “Be Bold” campaign in Hyderabad. To combat the serious health challenge posed by HIV & AIDS the “Be Bold” campaign was launched by Andhra Pradesh State AIDS Control Society (APSACS), in Hyderabad aiming at translating HIV / AIDS awareness into action. Andhra Pradesh is one of the highest prevalent AIDS affected southern states of India with 20 districts out of 23 showing prevalence rate of above 1%.
As part of the “Be Bold” campaign, the voluntary testing was launched to encourage people to get to know their HIV status so that stigma attached to the testing can be reduced. Mr. G. Ashok Kumar – Project Director APSACS (AP State AIDS Control Society) was the first to get checked for HIV through Rapid Test, proving the point while launching the “Be Bold” campaign in Hyderabad.
Responding to the campaign all UNICEF staff also followed suit. “If HIV testing has to become fashionable it’s important for all to advocate themselves to first set an example” says Mr. Michel Saint- Lot, UNICEF Representative for the States of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
The counselors and technicians were all taken by surprise when a large group of people wearing yellow, burst through the rainy day. UNICEF team had willingly lined up for testing in their yellow caps and T- shirts depicting the slogan “UNITE FOR CHILDREN. UNITE AGAINST AIDS”.
As each and every staff member got themselves tested, a new chapter was opening in AP’s fight against HIV / AIDS. The best part of this campaign was against the normal waiting for 1 day for the results it just took ten minutes for the result to be made available.
The session ended with the counselor requesting each staff member to protect themselves from AIDS and get tested every 3 months. The awareness of HIV/AIDS is an ongoing process and to get oneself tested is not only boldness but also making sure that each one of us lives a happy and healthy life.