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Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019

Punjab Aids society pamphlet misses the key ‘not’, says HIV ‘spreads by handshake’

A probe has now been ordered by the Punjab Aids society, which emailed NGOs and its Anti Retroviral Therapy (AR) centers on September 25 to stop the distribution of the pamphlets and send these back to the store.

punjab Updated: Sep 29, 2017 09:22 IST
Jatinder Kohli
Jatinder Kohli
Hindustan Times, Jalandhar
This list on the Punjabi pamphlet says ‘How HIV/Aids infection spreads’. The idea is to debunk popular myths, but it misses the ‘nahin’ or ‘not’.
This list on the Punjabi pamphlet says ‘How HIV/Aids infection spreads’. The idea is to debunk popular myths, but it misses the ‘nahin’ or ‘not’.(HT Source)
         

In pamphlets of the Punjab State Aids Control Society (PSACS) that have gone viral on WhatsApp and other social media outlets, an apparent printing error has led to misinformation about how HIV spreads.

An illustrated list on the Punjabi pamphlet meant for awareness makes four points on its left side, listing the actual ways how Aids/HIV spreads. But, on its right is another list, which again says ‘How HIV/Aids infection spreads’ and goes on to list four ways in which it actually does not! The apparent idea is to debunk popular myths, but it misses the ‘nahin’ or ‘not’!

The myths are that the infection can spread by handshake, or using utensils of the HIV-positive patients, or through shared use of toilet and equipment such as computers; or that a mosquito can cause the infection too. Repeated  studies and awareness drives, including those by the World Health Organization (WHO), have clarified that: “Individuals cannot become infected through ordinary day-to-day contact such as kissing, hugging, shaking hands, or sharing personal objects, food or water.”

No clarity on distribution yet: ‘Give two days’

A probe has now been ordered by the Punjab Aids society, which emailed NGOs and its Anti Retroviral Therapy (AR) centers on September 25 to stop the distribution of the pamphlets and send these back to the store. However, society project director B Srinivasan, when contacted, first claimed that these pamphlets have not been distributed at all and are already in a storeroom. 

But state health minister Brahm Mohindra told HT that these pamphlets were originally published in 2013 and were distributed at that time only to be “later recalled” and “are lying in a store at present”. He said someone leaked the pamphlet now from the store and a probe is being conducted into that.

The project director later said, “The inquiry will reveal everything, and it will be completed in two days.”

The correct info

Here’s what the WHO website says: HIV can be transmitted via the exchange of a variety of body fluids from infected individuals, such as blood, breast milk, semen and vaginal secretions. Individuals cannot become infected through ordinary day-to-day contact such as kissing, hugging, shaking hands, or sharing personal objects, food or water.

First Published: Sep 29, 2017 09:19 IST

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