Monday, July 10, 2006

The Economics of AIDS

Fatehgarh Sahib, Punjab, India - Dr. S.K. Goyal, Principal, RIMT-IET introduced Dr. N.M. Sharma, Project Director, Punjab State AIDS Control Society. He told the group that the focus was on galvanizing awareness and securing support from the youth towards fighting the pandemic of HIV/AIDS.

Dr. N.M Sharma said that educating the masses was the only solution to prevent the rapid increase of the HIV/AIDS cases. From his industrial and economic viewpoint, Sharma said this was important because the maximum number of new infections was occurring in the most productive 15 to 24 year old age group. And he added that the industrial sector was equally vulnerable because the HIV virus would debilitate a workforce that is in its economic prime, 15 to 49 year olds.

Business, he went on to say, had a big role to play in the prevention of HIV/AIDS. Expressing his concern about the gravity of the situation, Sharma said that the latest estimate of HIV infected population is 5.206 million and it is the working population that the country is losing.

In addition to HIV/AIDS awareness and education, Sharma said there was also a need to fight HIV/AIDS prejudice. Speaking on the initiatives to combat AIDS, Sharma informed that the Voluntary Counseling and Testing Centre (VCTC) is a one-stop-shop for counseling, testing and treatment for opportunistic.

The CII Punjab State Council has taken on the mandate to catalyze industries’ involvement in India’s social development agenda regarding HIV/AIDS. CII has framed an HIV/AIDS policy for the Indian industry, which has been accepted and is being signed by the CII membership. Earlier, Irrenpreet Singh, Head Department of Business Administration, RIMT Institute of Engineering and Technology, appealed the youth to lead a responsible adulthood and to be a role model. Lauding CII’s efforts and initiatives in the crusade against AIDS, he urged one and all to join hands to stem the tide of HIV/AIDS while emphasizing fighting the stigma and discrimination against AIDS victims.

Report by Gurpreet Singh, SikhNN, Fatehgarh

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