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Well-known Kerala Actor, Mohanlal, Turns AIDS Activist

The popular south Indian Actor, Mohanlal, who has built an enviable reputation in the Malayalam movie industry, has decided to take// up a cause that is close to his heart- AIDS. Mohanlal will be the goodwill ambassador for the Kerala State Aids Control Society.

In a state where five HIV+ve children in Kottayam district were forced to give up their schooling following resentment from parents of other children, the contribution by the actor will seek to wipe out the stigma in society about AIDS. Kerala is grappling with one lakh HIV+ve people, many of whom do not seek treatment because of the taboo associated with the disease.

Mohanlal nurtures a desire to see the campaign blossom to its peak under his patronage. He said, “It is a participation. I represent the visual media. So whatever help I can give, I will. This film I hope will touch the conscience of the people."

The Kerala State AIDS Control Society has taken up the issue of ‘stigma’ plaguing AIDS sufferers as a priority issue. “Awareness programmes will be need of the hour”, said Rajan Khobragade, of the Kerala State AIDS Control Society.

"There is stigma and discrimination at all levels - social level, institutional level and even at the health worker level. To tackle this we need a multipronged approach. We have a grass-root level activity where we have group of HIV+ve women who are going to the panchayats and telling HIV+ve people that they can lead a positive life and that they are part of society," he added.

Rajan Khobragade stressed the need for a mass movement to really witness concrete changes in the way society treats AIDS victims. Celebrities are always invited to join the campaign in order to create awareness and remove misconceptions about AIDS.

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