The state of Kerala already holds the distinction of being the first 100% literate state of India. And now we see how this literacy helps in other facets of life.
Data had emerged which shows that a small city of Kerala, Palakkad was been declared as the first complete HIV/AIDS literate district in Kerala, thanks to the joint initiatives of civic authorities and KESS-HAPPI, a voluntary organisation. In Nov’18, Ernakulam registered only 77 HIV cases. This is a sharp decrease in the number of cases recorded in the district than in the previous years; in 2017, 126 people were found to be HIV positive and 123 cases were found in 2016.
For the entire state of Kerala, till September, only 890 people were found HIV positive in the state. In 2017, the number was 1,301 and 1,444 in 2016.
This spreading of awareness came about due to increase in the number of HIV cases in the district. Thus one cannot say that because literacy is 100%, people take better care of their health. In fact, Kerala has some of the highest number of suicides too in the country. Anyway, back on the topic of HIV, due to the increasing number of HIV cases reported in Palakkad, the district panchayat had drawn up a door-to-door campaign programme to educate people about the perils of the disease and the need to discard discrimination against its patients.
Wonder how the other states are doing? Does literacy and being aware of health risks go together? Looking at this case of Kerala, looks like education and prevention do not go hand-in-hand.