Sunday March 24, 2019

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

Stem Cell Transplant Shows Promise For AIDS Treatment: Study

The doctors stressed the need for proper guidelines around the new treatment, which, if proved successful in more cases, could change lives of millions of people

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School girls light candles in the shape of a ribbon during a HIV/AIDS awareness campaign ahead of World Aids Day, in Ahmedabad, India, Nov. 30, 2016. (VOA)

Although the news of a second person being cured of HIV through stem cell transplant is exciting and may pave the way for future treatments, experts say the treatment may not work in case of all patients infected with the AIDS causing virus.

“The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) attacks and weakens the immune system, reducing its ability to fight diseases or infections,” Girish Badarkhe, Haematologist at HCG Cancer Centre, Bengaluru, told IANS.

“The stem cell transplant primarily involves reprogramming the immune system to be HIV-resistant. But there a small percentage of people who are naturally resistant to HIV infection due to rare genetic mutations known as CCR5-delta 32,” he stressed.

According to a study published in the journal Nature, a man in London, who prefers to remain anonymous, was treated with stem cell transplants from donors with CCR5-delta 32 mutation. It made him resistant to HIV, just like the first cured case of Timothy Ray Brown, better known as the “Berlin patient”, a decade ago.

The London man was diagnosed with HIV infection in 2003 and was put on anti-retroviral therapy in 2012. He was later diagnosed with advanced Hodgkin’s lymphoma, cancer of the immune system.

After undergoing chemotherapy, he underwent a stem cell transplant in 2016 and also continued with anti-retroviral drugs for 16 months.

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Scientists have been searching for a cure for HIV/AIDS for close to 40 years. The director of UNAIDS called news that a man in London has been functionally cured of HIV a “breakthrough.” VOA

He did not experience HIV rebound, during the 18 months he did not take anti-viral medication.

“While the development is exciting, it cannot be applied to a normal HIV patient who can be treated with the regular anti-retroviral drugs, as the London man was also suffering from cancer of the immune system,” Badarkhe said.

“Stem cell transplants are an established treatment, particularly for blood related cancer with 70 per cent success rate. “In this case, he got cured both from cancer as well as the AIDS,” Badarkhe said.

Globally, 36.9 million people were living with HIV in 2017. With an HIV prevalence of 0.26 per cent in the adult population, India has an estimated 2.1 million people with HIV, shows UNAIDS data.

Also Read- Inheritance Not About Money, Legacy But Values, Says Sonam Kapoor

“Besides, the stem cell therapy is also linked to increased death risks and is also not cost-friendly,” Badarkhe said.

However, experts are enthusiastic about the promise that the cure of the London patient showed.

“It is a positive news. But there is a need for more scientific facts and evidence to be established,” V. Sam Prasad, Country Programme Director at AIDS Healthcare Foundation India, told IANS.

The doctors stressed the need for proper guidelines around the new treatment, which, if proved successful in more cases, could change lives of millions of people. (IANS)