Call for more aggressive approach to AIDS

Maputo- Mozambique (PANA) -- Mozambique's deputy national director of health Avertino Barreto has called for a "more aggressive" approach to disseminating information about the incurable disease AIDS to the public.
Giving a lecture Tuesday at Maputo's Higher University and Polytechnic Institute (ISPU) on "social marketing" against AIDS, Barreto stressed the need for information to protect communities and individuals against the devastating effects of the disease.
Barreto called for greater involvement of School and university students in the struggle against AIDS, since the youth were "the main victims of this disaster".
Participants at the meeting agreed that, in order to define an effective marketing strategy for "safe sex" measures, it was first necessary to understand the cultural values and the sexual behaviour of each region in the country.
Tomas Jane, director of the Maputo Journalism School, called for a change of mentality among the various institutions that deal with health issues.
He attacked the euphemism frequently used in death notices, which claim that the deceased died "of a prolonged illness", when in reality he had died from AIDS.
"It has to be stated that people have died of AIDS and not of " lengthy disease" as is frequently said in the media," declared Jane.
"We have to publicise the fact that people are dying of AIDS".
This, he argued, might make the public more aware of the reality of the disease, and persuade young Mozambicans to take greater care.
Latest Ministry of Health statistics suggest that 16 percent of the adult Mozambican population is living with the HIV virus that causes AIDS, with the figure rising to 20 per cent in the central provinces.
But the figure could be an underestimate.
Radio Mozambique on Wednesday quoted a startling figure from the southern Manhica district, which indicated that 126 out of 331, or 38 percent of the people who donated blood from January to June were living with HIV.
When the blood donors were informed of their HIV status, many of them rejected the information and refused to consider counselling, the radio added.

23 may 2001 21:20:00

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