Change perception about AIDS patients: President
12 March 2016, Nirapad News: President Abdul Hamid on Saturday underscored the need for changing the public perception and broadening the line of thinking about AIDS patients as many such victims are being neglected socially.
“AIDS is not a curse. It’s a serious public health issue. But many people infected with AIDS are being neglected by society…it’s not deserving. We need to change the public perception and broaden our thinking process,” he said.
The President said this while addressing the inaugural ceremony of the 12th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP) organised by Health and Family Welfare Ministry, Bangladesh and Partners in Population and Development (PPD) at International Convention City, Bashundhara.
ICAAP has been playing a pivotal role in raising public awareness, building political commitment, strengthening advocacy networks and disseminating knowledge and experiences on HIV issues among stakeholders in the region since its first congress in 1990.
President Hamid said, “We need further attention to find out HIV patients who are living in disguise because they seem to become a serious threat since they may spread HIV among more people.”
It is time for the removal of discrimination, stigmatisation and ostracizing then people living with HIV/AIDS, observed Hamid adding that the plight of AIDS widows, AIDS orphans or for that matter children and spouses of people living with AIDS is very challenging.
“They’re marginalised to the brims of society. It is appalling to see that it is happening in an age which boasts of pushing the boundaries of science and technology to newer levels. Inter planetary travel seems easy, but looking inwards into our own selves is tough,” the President noted.
About Bangladesh, President Hamid said the country has realised the importance of community resilience as a key factor in combating HIV/AIDS epidemic very early.
“We’ve made a significant progress in mitigating the spread of HIV but there’s no place for complacency. No society can be safe till all its members follow the simple rules that are essentially knowledge-based and behaviour-driven,” Hamid added.
Observing that Bangladesh is not a high-risk country if go by statistics, he said but considering the complexity of viral
transmission, Bangladesh has accorded the highest priority to containing HIV transmission in the country as many of Bangladeshi young people are setting sail for overseas jobs around the globe every year.
“Therefore, we cannot allow any Bangladeshi citizen to fall victim to HIV. Not only for Bangladeshi, but also for the entire humanity we don’t want to leave anyone behind. Everyone should count,” the President insisted.
Health and Family Welfare Minister Mohammed Nasim, State Minister Zahid Maleque, Health and Family Welfare secretary Sayed Monjurul Islam and Executive Director of PPD and Secretary-General of ICAAP Joe Thomas, among others, spoke on the occasion.
Nearly a thousand representatives from 56 countries are taking part in the three-day conference.