Kerala Government is all set to make people aware of HIV/AIDS in rural areas and industrial establishments.
The Field Exhibition Office of the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP) recently kicked off a state-wide photo exhibition campaign in the rural and suburban areas of the state.
The aim of the campaign is to create awareness, mainly among youth aged between 15 to 35 and rural masses who are less known to its effect.
"People who reach to see these exhibitions are able to know about the symptoms, how it spreads, ABC of infection, tests, stigma and the centers or institutions to contact if they have any doubt on HIV/AIDS," said Kavita Martin, Field Exhibition Officer, DAVP.
The campaign which started in Kochi's Palluruthy region will be taken to other rural areas, where NGOs, local bodies and the Kerala AIDS Control Society can't reach.
All the district administrations in the state have already instructed industrial associations and port offices to educate there workers on prevention, care and counselling of HIV/AIDS in their units for which skilled councillors have already been selected.
Cochin Port Trust has already got one councilor Nazar Ali, who is now a full timer for the port staff. He says: "Apart from conducting counselling and awareness class in schools and colleges, we are now taking two classes in a week in Cochin Port. In these areas, most of the shippers and Dockers movement takes place in large numbers and bring in crew even from other countries."
According to him in Kerala, there are around 1.5 lakh HIV+ people and the number is fast increasing.
The exhibition which was on for five days was well appreciated by the public and school children as they say, "It was easier to understand through the photographs than studying from the text books."
"It was informative and easy to understand than what we are taught and read in our text books. We get to know more things and the effects of HIV in our life and society," said Suhit Rao, a student.
Bijoy R., school teacher said that it was really easy to understand such things with the help of photos and it is a good idea of spreading awareness in rural villages.
Apart from photo exhibition, there are also awareness sessions conducted by NGO's, councillors and doctors.
Even in a 100 per cent literate state like Kerala, there is a lot of social stigma among the public and only awareness of these kind can help in the future.
According to UN-backed government estimates, the number of people living with HIV/Aids in the country stands around half of previous official estimates at between 2-3.1 million people.
Previous estimates from the National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) put the number of HIV cases at 5.2 million, while UNAids in 2006 estimated 5.7 million cases.