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December 2, 2020

Dr Yasmin Rashid for removing stigma attached with HIV/AIDS

Lahore

December 2, 2020

LAHORE : Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid called for enhanced awareness among youths on HIV/AIDS stigma reduction and its modes of transmission at the World AIDS Day seminar held in a hotel here Tuesday.

Secretary Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department Captain (r) Usman Younis, UNAIDS Country Director for Pakistan & Afghanistan Dr Maria Elena Fillia Borromeo, Director General Health Services Punjab Dr Haroon Jehangir, vice-chancellors of province’s leading universities, Punjab AIDS Control Programme Project Director Dr Munir Ahmed, WHO, UNICEF representatives and journalists were present on the occasion.

The health minister said that generating awareness among university students about communicable diseases especially HIV/AIDS was of paramount importance as the disease was spreading fast. She emphasised that removing stigma attached with HIV/AIDS must be the prime focus of the campaign.

Praising the vice-chancellors’ effort for a great cause she said the role of academia was integral in generating awareness among youths on prevention and control of communicable diseases. She stressed on discouraging the trend of using injections for treatment by healthcare providers and public. Injection must be used only when it becomes extremely necessary. Use of infected syringes, surgical/piercing instruments and unsafe blood transfusion are major causes of HIV spread in Punjab. Punjab has been running one of the world’s largest thalassemia programmes and some years back we discovered that some patients had caught HIV/AIDS through unsafe blood transfusion, she added. The minister said that awareness in universities was a key to educating the society. She said just as by use of mask we can reduce the risk of corona spread up to 70 percent, by prevention we can reduce risk of spread of other communicable diseases considerably. Dr Yasmin said it is important to reduce negative perceptions attached with the disease. The MoU with leading universities is a milestone in spreading awareness on HIV/AIDS. We want to see a healthy Pakistan as per vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan. The awareness campaign in campuses have already started.

Later, responding to journalists’ questions, she said Nawaz Sharif must come back to the country as per his promise. She said the political processions were risking the people’s lives and were potential cause of corona spread. She said she had appealed to the opposition to stop political gatherings due to the pandemic.