Spiritual leaders roped in to spread messege against HIV/AIDS

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Bangalore, June 2(UNI) More than 70 spiritual leaders from across the country were roped in to spread message against the dreaded disease HIV/AIDS, thanks to UNAIDS Control Programme and Art of Living Foundation, the organiser of Conference on 'Faith in Action'.

The Conference was aimed at involving the spiritual leaders, including religious leaders, seers and saints, in creating awareness among their followers and the public in general against HIV/AIDS and its impact on the Society.

Speaking at the Conference Art of Living Founder Shri Shri Ravishankar said that the problem of HIV AIDS could only be fought with united efforts of religious leaders.

"There are wide range of saints from all over the county from completely different ideologies and mindsets have all come together for one single purpose you know, to see a healthy society, AIDS free society. In this sense the Conference is very significant." Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) International Vice President Praveen Thogadia said that the problem should be taken into consideration on priority basis. "We have to accept that there is a problem of AIDS in India. We should not negate it more. If we accept this problem, it is the responsibility of every individual and organization's leader to solve the problem. And amongst all, they have a big role, together we can create big awareness." UNAIDS which is initiating and motivating religious leaders to fight HIV/AIDS considered this a great example in India.

UNAIDS Country Director Denis Brown pointed out that since the religious leaders have noteworthy influence on the common man, their active participation would have more impact in the battle against AIDS.

"It is extremely significant. Its very important, it's a moment when people who have most influence on the behaviour of common man, are coming together to understand what AIDS is about and to really come forward with a program to reduce materialism and to promote healthy behavior, risk free behavior. It is going to have major impact on the epidemic in India", he said.

An estimated 2.47 million people are living with HIV/AIDS in India. Yet over 40 percent of all Indian women have not heard of AIDS, creating a dangerous combination of lack of knowledge and greater sexual activity.

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