Madras HC orders removal of AIDS awareness posters

CHENNAI - The Madras High Court on Wednesday ordered the Tamil Nadu State Aids Control Authority (TANSACA) to remove all posters in the state having a photograph of Thilakavathi and her child within a week.

Thilakavathi had petitioned the court claiming the photos were used without obtaining her consent.

TANSACA had used Thilakavathi and her four -year-old daughter’s picture with a message ‘an HIV+ve woman does not necessarily infect her child with AIDS,’ in their posters for creating awareness.

Supporting Thilakavathi, the court said, “The poster has created serious problems for Thilakavathi and her family and made it difficult for the family to be a part of society.”

The court asked the State Health Department to evolve rules for using photos from the web in future.

In their petition, Thilakavathi and her husband Magesh explained the mental trauma they were facing as a family. They said the entire neighborhood was avoiding them due to the poster as it had created a suspicion that she was suffering from AIDS.

“The neighbours deserted our family, they also kept my daughter away from playing with their kids fearing infection. Our relatives and other family members also started suspecting us after the publishing of this poster. I even decided to end my life due to the trauma faced by this,” claimed Thilakavathi.

Thilakavathi demanded a compensation of Rupees one crore from TANSACA for causing her mental harassment.

According to a survey the national adult HIV prevalence in India is approximately 0.36 percent, amounting to between 2 and 3.1 million people, which comes to around 2.5 million people living with HIV and /or AIDS.

More men are HIV positive than women. Nationally, the prevalence rate for adult females is 0.29 percent, while for males it is 0.43 percent. This means that for every 100 people living with HIV and AIDS, 61 are men and 39 women. Prevalence is also high in the 15-49 age groups approximately 88.7 percent of all infections, indicating AIDS still threatens the cream of society, especially those in the prime of their working life.

The National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) is presently implementing the National AIDS Control Programme part III (NACP-III ) to halt and reverse the epidemic in the country over the next five years by integrating programmes for prevention, care and support and treatment.

The NACP III is concentrating on sex workers, men-who-have-sex-with-men and injecting drug users who are at the end of the highest risk of getting infected.

NACP-III is committed to address the needs of persons infected and affected by HIV, especially children, through the sectors and agencies involved in child protection and welfare. (ANI)


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