Pitching in against AIDS


Published: Saturday 15 January 1994

World AIDS Day in early December saw a rash of programmes on the battle against the disease, with Doordarshan and the satellite channels doing their bit to publicise the enormous degree of education and mobilisation needed to meet this killer head-on.

One drab discussion on Doordarshan's morning show was enlivened by a doctor who suggested the government should ban commercial blood banks to control the spread of AIDS in the country. There are more than 1,000 blood banks in the country, of which 600 are not even licensed. He also said the government needs to pressurise private and public hospitals to eliminate unnecessary transfusions, contending 50 per cent of the transfusions were unnecessary.

Of the several programmes STAR Plus telecast, Dangerous Liaisons looked at the ignorance, deceit and mindless stigma that fuels the spread of AIDS. One of the more harrowing examples shown was a Harare family, where both the parents and children are affected because the man neglected to be careful. Girlfriends and wives become victims because men don't come clean on the fact that they harbour the virus. Women are being infected at much higher rates than men and throughout the world, an estimated 15,000 women are infected with AIDS every week.

Another programme, In A New Light, put together a list of guest appearances by celebrities, starting with Elizabeth Taylor, in an effort to raise public awareness about AIDS. It dwelt heavily on the need to use condoms: one condom used effectively means one life saved.

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