Mumbai: What’s in a name, they say. A lot, if a recent study is anything to go by. Be it HIV/AIDS or family planning, these are mere names or terms that 50% of today’s youth in Maharashtra have just heard about.
Young people have no knowledge about these serious health issues, even after government has been running sustained public awareness campaigns for them, according to a recent study. The study also exposes hollowness of the impact these awareness drives have on the society. It goes on to state that 90% of youth in Maharashtra have heard about HIV/AIDS but not even 50% of them have “comprehensive knowledge” about it.
The study says, “awareness of HIV/AIDS is almost universal among young men and women. In Maharashtra it is higher among married males with 90% and 70% among married women. But when asked about the comprehensive knowledge of the disease only 42% males and 32% females could answer the question.”
Dr Usha Ram, a national level project coordinator blamed superficial awareness programmes for this ignorance and apathy. “Advertisements on TV, newspapers and endless awareness campaigns have failed to reach out to the young population. They have just heard these words ‘HIV/AIDS´ but true dynamics of the issues still remain unclear. This makes vulnerability to infection and disease high.”
Revamping strategies and reviewing current implementation of health programmes at the grassroot level could be an option to be considered seriously by the state government. Also impact assessment should be carried out, she advised.