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India has developed HIV vaccine: Sushma Swaraj
July 26, 2003 19:58 IST
Union Health Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday announced that a HIV vaccine has been prepared in the country and its clinical trials were on.
Attending a convention of Parliamentary Forum on HIV/AIDS in Delhi, she hoped that India would be the first country to develop a cure for the deadly disease.
Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani emphasised the need for a four-pronged strategy -- prevention, treatment, education and awareness creation and research -- to counter the disease.
Advani pointed out that HIV/AIDS has devastated families, destabilised communities and shattered national economies with little hope of recovery for decades to come.
"The alarm bell is ringing. The bell is not for waking us up for we in India have already woken up to the challenge of HIV/AIDS," he said, adding the country has been 'forewarned by statistics'.
"It is not enough to spread the message about safe sex. It should a part of a larger message, about a responsible and fair lifestyle," Advani said pointing out that HIV/AIDS was 'essentially a lifestyle disease'.
He said education and awareness creation have to take into account the entire medical, sociological, cultural and economic aspects of the problem.
Advocating more openness to discussing HIV/AIDS and the ways to prevent, control and treat it, Advani said the society needed to empower women with the knowledge of the disease and the right to use it for their own protection.
He deplored attachment of stigma, sometimes bordering on ex-communication, with HIV/AIDS affliction forcing some of them to commit suicide.
This shows the amount of work that is needed at various levels to enable HIV/AIDS patients to live their life with dignity, Advani said.
Hoping that war on HIV/AIDS would become more broad-based with Parliamentarians joining in an organised manner, he asked MLAs and elected representatives at district and panchayat levels also to get involved in the campaign.
With regard to research, the deputy prime minister said it has to be a global effort with the closest possible cooperation among nations.
Noting that AIDS treatment was 'unaffordable' even to middle class families, Advani said the governments and philanthropic organisation.