“Inspiring civil society to challenge the misconceptions, ignorance, fear and stigma surrounding HIV”

Launched in November 2006, Wake Up Pune is a coalition of NGOs and representatives from civil society (just like us) working to spread awareness about HIV and AIDS in the city of Pune, India.

Official figures report that in Jan-Oct 2007, 18,039 people in the city of Pune were tested for HIV at government testing centres and of these, 12.27% tested positive. These figures exclude the thousands of people already living with HIV in Pune, along with those who are as yet unaware of their HIV+ status.

Silence, Ignorance, Fear, Stigma and Discrimination fuel the spread of the virus in this community. So many people are dying of a preventable and treatable condition because they are afraid of accessing the correct information and resources that can save their lives! Stigma and discrimination – from peers, colleagues, friends, family – lock people living with HIV (PLHIV) into a state of denial and silence about their condition. Often, this prevents PLHIV from seeking help until it’s too late.

Not only Pune, but Sri Lanka needs to wake up and change its attitude, of low prevalence and low risk. We need to become more positive and open about HIV, not only to prevent further transmission, but to also better the lives of the many neglected and stigmatized individuals living with and affected by HIV.

HIV does not discriminate. We do. Let’s put an end to this vicious cycle!

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