At the dawn of this year, we promised our readers to examine the scope of ICT in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It was a challenging job. Despite numerous discussions and reports on MDGs, there are very few to look specifically into the ICT way of reaching the goals of MDGs. We kept our promise by examining all the MDGs and connecting each with ICT. Thanks to our authors from all corners of the globe who have shared their experiences and views through i4d. It’s clear that all MDGs and their components are highly interrelated and any one MDG cannot be seen in isolation. To have a comprehensive approach, the concerted effort of organisations, right from the International level to the grass root level need to be channelised so that the marginalised sections’ lot is improved. Here comes the role of ‘Global Partnership’, as enunciated by UN, to achieve the highly interrelated MDGs.
We chose MDG 6 as the last theme to cover, and, more specifically, we chose HIV/AIDS to focus in this issue, which will reach our readers immediately after World AIDS Day. We know that HIV infection rates are decreasing in several countries, but global number of people living with HIV continues to rise. The UN Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS states that “HIV/AIDS constitutes a global emergency and one of the most formidable challenges to human life and dignity…” This statement is alarming enough.
The connection between HIV/AIDS and poverty are well recognised, with the burden of disease being highest in the poorest and most disenfranchised sections of society. An aspect of the poor health status of the poor is the existence of undiagnosed and untreated sexually transmitted diseases amongst numerous people, which is now recognised as a very significant co-factor in the transmission of HIV. Poor households are often politically and socially marginalised. Social exclusion makes it difficult to reach these people through programmes aimed at changing sexual and other behaviours. Another alarming fact is the lack of awareness about HIV infection, resulting into blind myths and beliefs, creating numerous social problems, especially in the developing countries. In this issue we have discussed the need of awareness generation among the community. The cycle of HIV/AIDS and poverty can only be broken through effective prevention activities and social education.
Where ‘communication’ is the main issue, the ICT community has a big role to play, to reach more people in need at a time, to ensure social education and awareness. On the eve of another year, we must promise to bring a ‘HAPPY’ new year to all, including those, who are still bound to live in the darker side of the society due to the hidden enemy inside their body. The society is responsible for their fate, so as you and me.