Khelen Thokchom Trust (KTT) organised a one-day media workshop on the newly adopted HIV and AIDS Act (Prevention & Control) 2017 for the journalists of Ukhrul district at Shalom Lodge, Wino Bazaar, Ukhrul on Saturday.
The workshop was conducted to equip journalists on the nuances of reporting issues related to HIV/AIDS, especially on the newly enacted HIV/AIDS (Prevention & Control) Act 2017 and bring more awareness to the public, while keeping in consideration as the media plays a vital role in disseminating and educating the masses.
Moderated by Imphal Free Press resident editor, the day-long programme was organised by Khelen Thokchom Trust (KTT), Manipur and supported by the Manipur State Aids Control Society(MACS).
Trust member Sobhabati Sammon delivered a presentation and welcomed the members present at the event. The workshop was attended by Ukhrul-based journalists, KTT and others.
Advisor of KTT, Irengbam Arun, who is also editor-in-chief of Imphal Free Press and AIDS control officer, Ukhrul/Kamjong Dr Yuithingla Vashum attended as presidium members.
On the occasion, Irengbam Arun said that the best way to pay tributes to the late senior journalist Khelen Thokchom, who remained ever ready to mould and shape young journalists to be the cornerstones, was to organise the capacity building workshop for the media fraternity of the state to bring more awareness on HIV-AIDS among others.
Functionaries of Manipur AIDS Control Society (MACS) State TI coordinator Ksh Deepak, IEC and Mainstreaming Omajit Leishangthem and assistant director IEC and mainstreaming Phanjoubam Lanngamba attended as resource persons.
Delivering the basic concepts on HIV/AIDS, Deepak said that following detection of the first AIDS case in the state from a drug user in 1990, the crusade against the AIDS pandemic has come a long way since the adoption of HIV policy.
However, amid the interventions to check the epidemic continuously for the past two decades, there has been little progress in the battle against the disease, he said.
Over the years, the mode of transmission of the AIDS has evolved from injecting route to sexual route, he pointed out, adding, sexual transmission has become a major concern.
Elaborating on the prevailing scenario of prevalence among adults aged 15-49 years, he said the overall prevalence of the country stands at 0.22 per cent, Mizoram at 2.3 per cent which is the highest in the country, followed by 1.44 per cent in Nagaland and 1.5 per cent in Manipur.
“The prevalence rate is alarming in both Ukhrul district and Kamjong districts with Ukhrul and Kamjong figures standing at 1.7 and 1.6 per cent respectively.”
He also called on all the stakeholders, including village authorities, churches, civil society organisations, NGOs and others to give their unstinted support and cooperation and join hands in fighting the disease as MACS alone would not be able to eliminate AIDS.
He also shared a Toll Free number ‘1097’ which could be used by the public for HIV related queries, and also informed that the public can also use ‘NACO AIDS App’ on their smartphones to access information related to AIDS.
In his speech, Omajit Leishangthem briefed about the various legal provisions under the newly-adopted HIV/AIDS (Prevention and Control) Act 2017.
He said that as in other parts of the states, Manipur also has the service of an ombudsman for the protection of People Living with HIV (PLHIV) under the Act.
As per the Act, PLHIV are protected and they should not be discriminated against on the basis of their HIV status. He said that there has been a case against disclosure of the identity of a HIV/AIDS patient which was brought to the notice of the ombudsman in the state.
In his presentation, Phanjoubam Lanngambam spoke on ‘Media ethics on HIV/AIDS related reporting’. While reporting on HIV/AIDS, the reports should be objective, factual and sensitive and should not disclose the identity of HIV infected persons, he said.
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