HIV/AIDS awareness campaign scrapped

BANGALORE: The State Governments decision to not introduce “sex education” in schools has brought to a halt HIV/AIDS awareness programme in thousands of government and aided high schools throughout the State.

From The Hindu

National Aids Control Organisation (NACO), the nodal agency at the Centre for HIV/AIDS prevention measures, has asked the Karnataka State AIDS Prevention Society (KSAPS) to stop funding the awareness programme in high schools in the State.

An official in the Health Department told The Hindu that NACO used to set aside funds for awareness programmes to be taken up by society. In 2006-07, the society had spent over Rs. 1 crore for undertaking awareness programme in 8,000 schools.

NACO had decided against taking up the awareness programmes following reports that the H.D. Kumaraswamy Government opposed adolescence education programme in high schools. Rajasthan and Gujarat too opposed the programme launched by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development in collaboration with NACO, for students in the 15-17 age group.

On April 18, 2007, the H.D. Kumaraswamy Government held a meeting with various non-governmental organisations and decided against introduction of adolescence education programme on the grounds that it would not be in the students interests.

The Health Department official said the Education Departments decision against introduction of the programme resulted in discontinuing HIV/AIDS awareness programme in schools. Instead of adolescent education, the previous Government decided to launch “value-based” education.

The then Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Basavaraj S. Horatti had constituted a high-level committee to look into the issue of adolescence education programme.

However, the committee has not yet submitted its recommendations.

The society, established in 1999, with the aim of reducing the spread of HIV infection and strengthening the States potential to prevent and control HIV/AIDS, has been implementing awareness programme in schools with the help of block education officers and schoolteachers. Besides incurring training expenditure, the society used to provide all relevant material to schools.

Nagesh Prabhu, The Hindu



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