Palakkad, a small district in Kerala with a population of over one lakh, has set an incredible example with its efforts to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS. It is all set to become India’s first district to be HIV/AIDS literate. Here’s more.
In spite of several awareness campaigns, programmes and initiatives, many people still do not have enough information and knowledge about HIV/AIDS.
The stigma attached with the disease, along with the lack of awareness, make the fight against HIV/AIDS even more difficult.
But one district in Kerala has taken on the challenge.
Known as the gateway to Kerala, Palakkad will soon be declared the first HIV/AIDS literate district in the country.
This initiative was carried out under a nine-month long project, Jyothirgamaya, which not only educated people about AIDS but also made inroads into the stigma and discrimination attached with the disease.
Ninety one gram panchayats and four municipalities in the district worked, along with a voluntary organisation KESS-HAPPI, to implement this project. They also worked towards protecting the affected people and helping them lead a normal life.
As part of the project, ASHA workers, Anganwadi ladies and Kudumbasree workers played an active role by distributing pamphlets, going door to door to educate every household, conducting awareness classes, rallies and campaigns. Special attention was given to school and college students since they are most vulnerable.
Thanks to the combined efforts of all the people, the district and its people are now well aware of the disease. They have been rid of several misconceptions they had about HIV/AIDS.
As per a report by the UN, India has the 3rd-highest number of HIV-infected people in the world.
If more districts can take inspiration from Palakkad, lakhs of people suffering from this deadly disease can live a life of dignity and acceptance by mainstream society.