'India's eyes shut to alarming AIDS situation'
Bangalore, Apr 7: Notwithstanding India's dubious distinction of ranking second in HIV/AIDS cases in the world, next to South Africa, the country is yet to wake up to the alarming situation, according to Prof Suzanne Crowe, Deputy Chairperson of Australia-India Council (AIC).
Prof Crowe was here to conduct symposia on HIV/AIDS across the country with the help of CII.
Talking to UNI yesterday, she lamented that the Centre had failed to release the latest data on the number of HIV/AIDS cases in the country after 2003, when the figures had touched five million.
''With the Government not coming out with the latest figures and with only five per cent of the youth subjected to HIV/AIDS test, it is very difficult to judge the present scenario,'' she said.
Though a recent study reported that the number of HIV/AIDS affected people had come down by 30 per cent in South India, she advocated caution in interpreting such results.
Prof Crowe informed that AIC, set up by the Australian Government in 1992 to deepen relations between the two countries, had spent over 2,00,000 dollars for creating awareness about the global epidemic. As language proved to be a hindrance in spreading the message among the rural masses, the AIC had decided to take the help of local associations in its endeavour.
Attributing population explosion, poverty and illiteracy as reasons for the spread of the disease, she called for the active participation of every organisation in the task of educating both urban and rural people about the disease.
Citing Australia as an example where the country had managed to bring down the number of affected to less than 10,000 with its untiring efforts, she warned that if India did not check the spread of the epidemic, it would be forced to go the South African way.