Media, NGOs urged to spread AIDS awareness
MULTAN: Bahauddin Zakriya University Vice Chancellor Dr Muhammad Zaffarullah has urged the media persons, teachers and NGOs to spread awareness among the students and the general public regarding the spread of AIDS virus and measures to ensure safety against it.
Addressing a two-day workshop on AIDS organised jointly by BZU Mass Communication Department and University of Miami, Indiana, US here on Sunday, the vice chancellor said the universities were not only focusing on education and research work but also playing their role for the establishment of a healthy society.
He said the BZU was organising seminars and other activities on various issues on a regular basis as capacity building was also a responsibility of universities.
He said being enlightened and respected segments of society, media NGOs and teachers could effectively create an understanding of the disease among the people.
He said media played an important role in bringing meaningful and sustainable social change and shaping and changing public opinion.
He was of the view that a thorough understanding of the disease was important to combat its spread.
US scholar Prof Dr James Kelly spoke about the AIDS virus and its impact on human beings, saying if the rate of spread of the virus was not arrested it would reach disastrous proportions in the near future.
Prof Jyotika Ramaprasad of University of Miami said the best way to avoid HIV transmission was to avoid high-risk behaviors. He said people with sexually transmitted infections were far more vulnerable to HIV.
He said Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) was a retrovirus, that used the body’s own cells to reproduce itself and it caused AIDS, while AIDS was not a specific illness but rather collection of illnesses that affect the body.
Tsitsi Wakhisi, professor of Journalism at the University of Miami said there was a need to start joint efforts for the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS.
He said blood transfusion should not be done without screening by an authentic laboratory to avoid contacting HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C infections.
He said high-risk behaviors among youth including injecting drug usage, unsafe sex and unsafe blood transfusion put them at risk of getting infected with HIV/AIDS.