Activists: Aids scene in TV soap opera inaccurate

Activists: Aids scene in TV soap opera inaccurate

Soap opera
Soap opera "Puean Rak Puean Rissaya" (Close friend-turned-jealous friend) on TV Channel 3, which ends on Tuesday night, has drawn criticism from Aids/HIV advocacy groups for distorting the facts about the viral infection.

Aids advocacy groups have demanded the producer of the soap opera "Puean Rak Puean Rissaya" (close friend-turned-jealous friend) and TV Channel 3 correct misinformation in a scene about Aids/HIV infection.

Representatives from the Thai Network of People Living with HIV/Aids and the Aids Access Foundation (AAF) on Wednesday sent a letter to the managements of Ban Lakorn Co and Channel 3 pointing out major mistakes in the programme.

The letters said a scene aired on Oct 6 that featured a leading character seeking treatment at a hospital and dying of Aids was grossly misinformed and could cause great misunderstanding about the viral infection.  

It was wrong to say that Aids had final and critical stages, and it was also improper to feature an actress who played the role of an Aids-infected patient as having severe sores that were weeping blood.

This sent a wrong message to society, and created fear and discrimination against infected patients.

The advocacy groups said Aids/HIV patients were divided into two groups -- those infected with HIV and those who have developed full-blown Aids. People with HIV infection had no worsening symptoms, while Aids patients suffered from opportunistic infections that took advantage of weaknesses in the immune system.

All opportunistic infections could be cured. Once these infections were treated, Aids patients reverted to being termed HIV-infected people. 

None of the opportunistic infections made patients appear as the woman patient was shown in the soap opera, said the groups.

Distorting the facts about the virus would affect HIV-infected people, as it generated discrimination against them, said the groups.

They demanded the producer and the executives of Channel 3 provide accurate information to their audience through its news and features programmes, and websites.

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