The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in collaboration with AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Department of Telecommunications and National AIDS Control Organization launched a new mobile application on HIV/AIDS in Mumbai. This mobile application will provide complete information on HIV, increase awareness and risk perception as well as prompt users to access HIV testing from the nearest centre free of cost. Ensuring confidentiality, with bi-lingual facility and easy compatibility, it is expected to reach more than 11 crore people across urban & rural settings.
Speaking at the occasion, Shri J.P. Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare said that, Technology and youth are inseparable, however, inadequate access to information and complex messages from various sources can confuse the youth. If we can use technology to guide and educate youth, it can open up endless opportunities to reach the young with authentic information on the services on HIV and AIDS. There is a dire need to motivate, inform and guide them. This mobile application, aptly titled, HIV education and linkage to prevention (HELP), will bridge the gap helping the youth to know their HIV status. It will transmit information personally to each of them which is a step ahead of door to door health services.
The National AIDS Control Programme is widely acknowledged for its success. It is vital that we use newer technologies to reach young people with messages on HIV. This mobile application will complement the efforts of early testing and treatment. We stand committed to prevent the young generation from HIV/AIDS added Shri Bhanu Pratap Sharma, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Mr. Navneet S Kang, Additional Secretary and DG, NACO stated that HIV affects the people most at the productive or young ages. There is a gap between the estimated number of people living with HIV and those who have tested and know their status. It is critical that people know their HIV status early so that a healthy and quality life can be led with the help of treatment. This application will enable the young to assess their risk to HIV and then, take a step forward and get themselves tested. NACO acknowledges the support of AIDS Healthcare Foundation for developing this mobile App for HIV.
Mr. Michael Weinstein, President, AIDS Healthcare Foundation said, The collaboration is strategic as we intend to increase testing and reach the unreached through technology. AHFs support for this initiative is a part of our 20×20 Call to Action for treating 20 million people globally by the end of 2020. This we feel can only be achieved by greater identification and technology-based initiatives which can generate awareness about HIV and, thereby, lead to greater testing uptake.
India is one of the youngest countries in the world with 60 per cent of its population less than 24 years of age. Both the Digital India and Skill India missions are the PMs twin promises to the youth of India for a better future. Technology is permeating our lives and changing ways how we live and work. An outstanding example of this is the mobile phone application industry – one of the fastest growing industries in India. The innovation in Application development now enables a mobile device to function as a navigator, a health monitor, a remote control and even a gaming console. With over 200 million mobile internet users in India, theres a huge potential to club health services with mobile app technology to maximize outreach and coverage at minimal costs. This new mobile App on HIV will be taken further to the block level by DoT with the help of BSNL & MTNL to cover rural youth across the country.