Ahmedabad, India, Nov 30, 2021 -- Seven years after it was launched to help increase awareness of HIV/AIDS and facilitate access of info on the virus and the disease, 1097 AIDS helpline has gone kaput. Callers get welcomed by recorded messages and then the call snaps. Besides, the website of Ahmedabad AIDS Control Society (ACS) has also not been updated in a long time.
December 1 is World AIDS Day when people unite in fight against HIV. But citizens here are left unaided when it comes to getting their queries resolved. If one dials 1097, one is greeted with ‘You are welcome to the AIDS helpline’. The call gets disconnected immediately. As such, HIV-AIDS surveillance activities saw a drastic reduction by over 50% during Covid, according to sources in Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC).
Now, a non-functional helpline and an equally pointless website of AMC-AIDS Control Society (ACS) leaves citizens with no access to the information they require.
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On the other hand, the website of Gujarat ACS is updated regularly, complete with yearly bulletin, annual report, the tests being carried out and the status of HIV positive cases.
Dr Mehul Acharya, Project Director of AMC-ACS told Mirror that the website has only been created recently but no reports have been posted here. Asked about the non-functional AIDS helpline number, he said he’ll look into the matter.
The apathy of the civic officials towards dissemination of information on AIDS can be gauged from the laziness in proof-reading the information posted. For example, the website has information on ART centres – AntiRetroviral Therapy Centres, which have been set up in four hospitals namely V S Hospital, Civil Hospital, LG Hospital and SRC Hospital. But when one clicks the Gujarati language information on A.R.T centres, these are translated as ‘Kala Kendra’.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Published: Wednesday, December 1, 2021
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