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International News

Leading Bangladeshi Business House Joins NGO to Campaign Against Spreading of HIV/AIDS

June 2, 2005

On Sunday in the capital Dhaka, organizers launched a yearlong national campaign to raise HIV/AIDS awareness in Bangladesh. Working with the campaign slogan "Let's talk, know, and prevent HIV/AIDS," the Square Group -- a leading business outfit -- and the Bangladesh Center for Communication Programs said many in this conservative, Muslim-majority country are reluctant to discuss the disease.

Estimates by the World Health Organization and UNAIDS indicate Bangladesh has at least 13,000 HIV infections among its 140 million population. While the country's official HIV/AIDS rate remains relatively low at approximately 1 percent among sex workers, the rate among IV drug users is higher than 4 percent, reports the Health Ministry. Health officials warn that HIV could spread quickly among drug users because they frequently share needles. Bangladesh also shares a 2,500-mile porous border with India, which has about 5 million HIV cases.

"Let's talk" will involve erecting billboards, airing television programs about the disease, and holding music concerts. Team leader Nazrul Haque said the campaign is designed so "the HIV/AIDS issue is discussed freely, based on correct understanding of what it is and how it impacts on people."

Haque said a rock concert planned for later Sunday would include several dozen people living with the disease to emphasize that "nobody is safe" and help change peoples' impressions that people with HIV/AIDS are "finished." Separately, a team of folksingers canvassed Dhaka's streets spreading awareness messages, Haque said. About 500 campaign posters have gone up in Dhaka, a city of 10 million, he added.

Campaign organizers say they plan to extend the effort to other Bangladeshi cities. "We want to reach every corner of the society," said Haque.

Back to other news for June 2, 2005

Adapted from:
Associated Press
05.29.05; Julhas Alam

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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