A senior U.N. official urged India to increase awareness of AIDS among the public as a "social vaccine" when visiting north Indian state Bihar Saturday.
"Social Vaccine is the only weapon that can successfully fight the AIDS menace," said Peter Piot, Executive Director of United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and Under Secretary General of United Nations here Saturday.
"What I mean by Social Vaccine is launching a massive mass awareness campaign and educating the masses about how to protect themselves," said Piot who was among a joint delegation of international leaders and exports on AIDS visiting Bihar to chalk out strategies to fight the deadly disease.
Other members of the delegation included Suma Chakrabarti, Permanent Secretary of British Department for International Development (DFID) and Dr Maxine Olson, U.N. Resident Coordinator in India.
UNAIDS is very much concerned about the prevailing AIDS situation in India including Bihar, Piot said.
The latest study showed that Bihar is vulnerable to AIDS due to high poverty, lack of awareness among the masses about the disease and heavy migration of people to the AIDS-affected regions for better livelihood, he said.
As per an official report, nine of the total 38 districts in Bihar are badly affected with AIDS virus.
India is estimated to have 5.7 million HIV-positive people, the second most in the world after South Africa.