2018 is about to begin and the ambitious generation Y has already geared up with its list of New Year Resolutions. However most of our resolutions are about improving our own lives and in there is hardly any space for Social Causes in it. Keeping this in mind, famous Singer and Social Activist from Kolkata, Soumita Saha has come forward to dedicate the year 2018 towards one such cause, Rehabilitation of HIV/AIDS Victims. She has been actively campaigning towards removing the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS which causes the social isolation of its victims. The young songbird has taken the initiative to further spread #LetsEndIt campaign, started in UK towards the same cause.
World AIDS Day is observed on 1st December every year since 1988. This day is dedicated towards raising awareness of the pandemic caused by HIV infection and mourning those who have died of the disease. But what about those who survive? They often spend rest of life fighting the social isolation and discrimination due to the misconception prevalent about HIV.
The Government of India estimates that about 2.40 million Indians are living with HIV (1.93 ‐3.04 million) with an adult prevalence of 0.31% (2009). Children (<15 yrs) account for 3.5% of all victims, while 83% are the in the age group of 15-49 years. Of all the HIV victims, 39% (930,000) are women. In India, HIV/AIDS is concentrated only a few states — in the industrialized south and west, and in the north‐east.
Medical science has helped patients a lot in their fight against AIDS, but Social Science has not. HIV/AIDS victims are deemed untouchables, often perceived as culprits and are isolated from the society, which further adds to their problems. Instead of helping them regain their life back, the society crushes their self respect and the desire to live. The misconception that AIDS only affects men who have sex with men, sex workers, and drug addicts further strengthens the existing stereotype and perpetuates the social discrimination against. This social stigma is so damaging that the victims often end up committing suicide.
Soumita has been tirelessly campaigning against this isolation and discrimination the society shows towards HIV/AIDS victims. Speaking about the social discrimination of HIV Victims she says, “During my school days, the movie Phir Milenge got released. In it, the female protagonist was fired from job, when her employers came to know that she was HIV positive. Upset by her unfair dismissal, she waged a long legal battle which she son with sheer dedication and courage. In real life, such incidents never come to light as the victims fear social boycott. If such can happen in corporate world where everyone is well educated, one can imagine the plight of victims in the middle class society where the awareness level is very low”.
She further adds, “The aforesaid movie released in 2004 and here we are winding up the year 2017. But have we made any progress yet? No! Our society is still engulfed with same misconceived notions about the HIV/AIDS victims. Let’s end it. Let’s end it now”.
In her fan following across various channels, she has been constantly raising this issue and requesting her fans to spread the awareness about it in the society. She is also planning to dedicate a song to the HIV/AIDS victims in early 2018.
“We are living in 21st Century and this evil should stop immediately. This World AIDS Day lets join the fight to end the social impact of HIV #LetsEndIT“, says the 25 year old singer. She urges everyone to dedicate some time & effort in 2018 towards educating other people about HIV/AIDS.
She even recommends a New Year Resolution for every one , Each one Teach two. “If every one of us volunteers to educate at least 2 persons about the HIV, this endemic would be wiped out from our country within few years”, the songbird says.