Barisal, Feb 26: Participants and organisers on Sunday in an advocacy meeting with the journalists in Barisal said that HIV/AIDS has posed a serious threat to Bangladesh. A total of 445 HIV virus carriers were identified in the country last year. Out of the 445 patients
identified in six divisions of Bangldesh, 167 were from Dhaka, 137 from Chittagong, 79 from Sylhet, 30 from Khulna, 14 from Barisal, 7 from Rajshahi and 7 from Rangpur, they said.
The geographic and socio-cultural situation of the country tends to make it susceptible to the infection, they observed.
Despite success on a limited scale, the approaches and tools extended by the government, non-government and international organizations have produced no major behavior change among the masses because they have failed to create a culture that stands against the HIV/AIDS pandemic, they opined.
The futility of these efforts, they noticed, can partly be traced to a reluctance to use mass media and journalists as tools to fight HIV/AIDS. The advocacy meeting with the journalists was organized at Barisal Reporters Unity by Save the Children, Barisal office under ‘ rolling continuation channel (RCC) programme of ‘expanding HIV/AIDS prevention in Bangladesh’.
The purpose of the program was to help local journalists enhance their HIV/AIDS-related knowledge and writing skills, to foster the use of communication media and information to raise public awareness about HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh.
Muhammad Ali Jasim, president, Nazrul Biswas, secretary, Sushanta Ghose,Anisur Rahman Swapan, former presidents BRU, Md. Habib Mahmood, manager technical coordination HIV/AIDS sector, Alamgir Hossain, senior officer Save the Children, and participant journalists took part in interactive sessions of the program. In the program it was revealed that first Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) carrier was identified in Bangladesh in 1989 and that number increased to 2,533 in 2011 adding 343 in 2010 and 445 in 2011.
The total number of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (AIDS) patients identified in Bangladesh was 1,101 till 2011 adding 231 in 2010 and 251 in 2011 and the number of deaths were 325 till 2011 including 37 in 2010 and 84 in 2011, the discussants informed .
The participants and discussants agreed that well-informed, well-capacitated media sector in Bangladesh is a potential force for changing people’s behaviour and reinforcing a culture that prevents HIV/AIDS.
They stressed the importance of sensitivity toward people living with HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh, and discussed the media’s role in shaping the tenor of that response. They also outlined the limitations of the existing functions of the mass media in Bangladesh in creating
awareness about HIV/AIDS prevention and identified the shortcomings of HIV/AIDS-related published reports. They called local journalists to the end of ensuring the media’s committed and active participation in HIV/AIDS prevention, as well as to mobilise the public against the disease.