Thursday April 2, 2020

Film actors to promote AIDS awareness campaign

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Hyderabad: Global NGO TeachAIDS on Monday said it has roped in 22 leading Indian film actors to create instructional animated multi-media content to promote HIV education, especially in schools.

Launched on the eve of world AIDS Day, the material is available free of cost for all on the NGO’s website.

Indian-American Stanford University lecturer and social activist Piya Sorcar, the founder of TeacherAIDS, told reporters that they have also made 100,000 CDs for distribution among state AIDS control societies, schools, hospitals, and counseling centres.

Amitabh Bachchan, Akkineni Nagarjuna, Shabana Azmi, Suhashini Maniratnam, Anushka Shetty, Sudeep, Suriya, Imran Khan and Shruti Hassan have given their voice for the animations to promote HIV prevention among Indian youth.

The material has been prepared in seven languages – Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Assamese, Odia and English.

Trustee Amala Akkineni said they embarked on the project following the good feedback from a Telugu CD prepared in 2011.

Sorcar said through in-depth research and intensive localization, the NGO creates state-of-the-art HIV education materials and makes them available for free and accessible to those who need them most.

She said the initiative would go a long way in promoting awareness among school children as the teachers feel shy to discuss the subject.

“We are humbled that this initiative has the support of the most iconic cultural figures of India who have donated their voices and personalities to this movement,” she said.

C. Partha Sarathi, former project director of Andhra State AIDS Control Society, said the response to the TeachAIDS software created earlier was spectacular and filled a learning gap among children which was missing.

Telangana’s Information Technology Secretary Jayesh Ranjan said the content would be shown at Digital Telangana kiosks coming up across the state.

Spun out of Stanford University, TeachAIDS (www.teachaids.org) is a nonprofit social venture that creates breakthrough software solving numerous persistent problems in HIV and AIDS prevention around the world.

(IANS)

(Picture credit:image.dramatize.com)

Next Story

Here’s why HIV Vaccine Trials Failed in South Africa

HIV vaccine trials are halted in South Africa due to failure

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HIV
The latest trial of a vaccine against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has been halted as results show it is not working. Pixabay

By Eunjung Cho

The latest trial of a health vaccine against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has been halted as results show it is not working.

The Maryland-based U.S. National Institutes of Health announced Monday it has stopped the HVTN 702 study in South Africa, following a recommendation of an independent data and safety monitoring board.

The study, also called Uhambo — meaning travel or a journey in Zulu — enrolled 5,407 HIV-negative volunteers at 14 sites across South Africa beginning in 2016. Participants were sexually active men and women between the ages of 18 and 35, who were randomly assigned to receive six injections of either the investigational vaccine regimen or a placebo.

HIV Vaccine Fails
Pharmacist Mary Chindanyika looks at documents on a fridge containing a trial vaccine against HIV on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa. VOA

Over a period of 18 months, enough time for the vaccine regimen to stimulate an immune response, there were 129 HIV infections among the vaccine recipients and 123 HIV infections among the placebo recipients. The findings showed there wasn’t significant evidence that vaccination either decreased or increased infection rates.

The trial in South Africa was based on an earlier trial in Thailand, the RV144 clinical trial, the only vaccine that has ever shown any degree of success in protection from HIV. Scientists say they will continue to study the results of the HVTN 702 trial, to find out why the vaccine that had modest efficacy in Thailand didn’t work in South Africa. Researchers said there were no safety concerns about the vaccine itself.

Experts have voiced disappointment in the decision to stop the vaccine trial in South Africa.

“Whilst this is a significant setback for the field, we need to continue the quest for a preventive vaccine. The rates of HIV infection, which continue unabated in this region, should spur greater urgency, global attention and investment to the quest,” said Linda-Gail Bekker, past president of the International AIDS Society and chair of the Enterprise Advisory Group.

“An HIV vaccine is essential to end the global pandemic, and we hoped this vaccine candidate would work. Regrettably, it does not,” said Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is part of the NIH.

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South Africa has one of the world’s highest HIV rates. According to UNAIDS, more than 20 percent of people between the ages of 15 and 49 were HIV-positive in 2018.

Multiple HIV vaccines have been tested since the 1990s. (VOA)