AIDS Stigmatizes
Child’s Life

At this moment, India has a relatively low level AIDS prevalence rate in comparison to other countries. However, there is a high threat that this might change. According to most current studies, AIDS/HIV cases only occur in 0.30 percent of the population. This rate is significantly lower than most developing nations and BRIC countries. For example, Brazil and the United States have double the AIDS provenance rates of India’s. Russia’s rate is nearly triple. But given India’s population—this small percentage turns out to be a very large figure. India has the fourth largest AIDS population in the world. Global public health experts and the Indian government fear this figure could grow at an increasingly rapid rate unless strong steps are taken to combat the spread of AIDS in India. To this end, the government has launched a large-scale AIDS public awareness campaign. The goal of this effort is to prevent the spread of AIDS, destigmatize the disease and dispel false understandings of AIDS. Much of this campaign is focused on promoting the use of condoms. In partnership with domestic and global nonprofits, the Central government launched an advertising campaign for this cause. Celebrities, movie stars, politicians and spots figures frequently appear on billboards, TV commercials and on the radio to advocate for the use of condoms. The government is also looking to combat the destructive stigma cast upon people with AIDS. Information about this is now included in school curriculums.

Despite this public conversation about AIDS, it remains a highly stigmatized disease. This is to the extent that is undermines efforts to control the disease. AIDS is strongly associated with extramarital and homosexual sex in India. In an extremely socially conservative country, these topics are highly taboo and fiercely condemned. Despite public efforts to engage individuals in a discussion about AIDS, it remains a large challenge to create a balanced and respectful dialogue about it at the community level. As a result, individuals with AIDS must suffer the consequences of this stigma and the threat of an outbreak remains ever-large.

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