December 13, 2010
School of Ayurveda, Amritapuri
This year’s World Aids Day on December 1 was marked by a unique campaign, Know AIDS for No AIDS, organized by students of the Amrita School of Ayurveda.
The three-day campaign saw Amrita’s future Ayurvedic physicians put together an exhibition, screen a video documentary and invite experts for informative talks on the topic. A mime performance and an essay competition were additional highlights.
An estimated 5.7 million people live with HIV/AIDS in South Africa. Over 12% youngsters aged 15- 24 are HIV+.
Participants learned these and other such facts as they followed the famous pop singer, Kelly Rowland on her journey, providing relief work in South Africa.
The video documentary showed an emotional Ms. Rowland pleading at a press conference. “I saw so many young people who are involved with the disease … the numbers of AIDS victims have to go down,” she stated, clearly moved to tears.
Highlighting the lives and dreams of AIDS victims, the documentary brought out their helplessness. The viewers learned that every 14 seconds a child was orphaned due to AIDS.
Of course, the dreaded disease affects millions not only in South Africa, but the whole world. In India, an estimated 2 million people are affected.
“As far as AIDS is concerned, ignorance is not innocence but a sin,” wrote Sreedevi V., who won the first prize in the essay competition. This future doctor felt that it was her moral duty to participate in the campaign.
Next year, Sreedevi will graduate with a bachelors’ degree in Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery.
Dr. Jyotilal, a practicing Ayurvedic physician and a scholar, delivered a lecture on Rajayekshma.
“Rajayekshma is an illustrated disease in our Ayurvedic texts that is similar to HIV/AIDS,” he told the audience, explaining the disease’s symptoms, phases, prescribed medical treatment and precautions.
“Like AIDS, body pain, energy loss, weight loss, vomiting, memory loss and loose motion are some of the symptoms experienced,” he added.
Dr. Jyotilal was presented a memento by Dr. Syamala B., Principal of the School.
The exhibition inaugurated on the first day reiterated AIDS prevention messages and highlighted the isolation that all AIDS patients experience. A mime performance about the negligence faced by HIV+ patients brought the three-day campaign to a close.
“As future doctors, we felt the need to awaken people to fight this preventable disease,” summed up Arun M., one of the key student organizers. “I am happy to say that we were able to do our part.”