Question mark raised over musical campaign for HIV&AIDS awareness

Correspondent KOHIMA, OCT 7 (NPN) | Publish Date: 10/7/2018 12:06:27 PM IST

In sync with the practice since 2009, Nagaland State AIDS Control Society (NSACS) began a musical campaign to promote awareness on HIV&AIDS in the State on Saturday with the theme “Life Now, Yes life. No HIV”.

However, the annual event has come under close scrutiny as there has been no visible positive impact with the State witnessing an alarming rise in HIV cases, especially in the past few months. Nagaland now ranks third in the country with 1.15 % of its population being affected, while Mizoram tops the list (2.04%) and Manipur (1.43%) comes in second.

Speaking to Nagaland Post, NNagaDAO president Abou Mere alleged that the event’s impact was not visible.

Claiming that NSACS had also not carried out any assessment of the event’s impact, he asserted that a scientific study of its impact vis-à-vis spread of HIV&AIDS was a must.

Else, he cautioned, “It may be just a waste of resources”, adding, if the event did not help, other intervention programmes targeting youth should be prioritised.

Mere said a joint consultative meeting to discuss stigma and discrimination was scheduled this month, after which recommendations would be forwarded to the State government.

He pointed out that the musical concert might lead to general awareness, but those in need might not be reached.

A doctor, speaking to Nagaland Post, said it might have become a kind of an annual practice for NSACS to organise the concert as part of its awareness campaign, however the HIV&AIDS situation seemed to be getting only worse. He urged the agency to come up with new strategies to reach out to vulnerable sections.

Suggesting that NSACS channelize its activities through NGOs, he said their funding should not be stopped as they were doing a good job to help People Living with HIV (PLHIV), while also playing a role to bridge the gap between PLHIVs and NSACS.

He further stated that there was a drastic fall in the funding pattern by National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) in 2014-15. But, to bring down the continuous rise in HIV positive cases in the State, there was a need to re-assess the approach strategies, he asserted.

He said a new approach to stop the chain of transmission, judicious use of funds and taking NGOs into confidence needed to be explored as HIV&AIDS dynamics had changed over the years.

Another entrepreneur expressed a similar opinion sating that funding NGOs that work for HIV&AIDS would have more impact than spending large amounts of money on concerts.

Mentioning that the church was another platform that could create maximum awareness, the entrepreneur remarked that a musical concert through the church could be more effective than any secular concert organised especially in the evening.

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