Today, social media was rife with pictures of a news clip of TV9 Bharatvarsh claiming that Maharashtra cabinet minister and CM Uddhav Thackeray’s son Aaditya Thackeray has been tested positive for ‘HIV/AIDS’.
The screengrab went viral on Facebook, leaving social media users to speculate whether actually the Maharashtra cabinet minister has been infected with the sexually transmitted disease.
The same screenshot of a Hindi news channel TV9 Bharatvarsh’s news graphic was widely shared on Twitter.
क्या करने गए और क्या हो गया?— Abhi Singh Gaur (@AbhiSinghGaur15) March 21, 2021
इसे कहते हैं गई भैंस पानी में। pic.twitter.com/fp2WsgO2GI
क्या करने गए और क्या हो गया?— Radheshyam Gurjar (@Radhesh03183860) March 21, 2021
इसे कहते हैं गई भैंस पानी में। pic.twitter.com/HJ0cg5azYS
This news, however, panned out to be untrue. The fact-checking website Fact Hunt reported that the viral screenshot of TV9 Bharatvarsh that is being widely shared on social media platforms was morphed. The news bulletin was edited to claim that the Maharastra cabinet minister is HIV positive.
Actually, the original news graphic reports on Aaditya Thackeray testing positive for COVID-19 after he had announced in a tweet. Thackeray had tweeted on March 20, 2021, stating that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
Following this news, TV9 Bharatvarsh uploaded a video on its YouTube channel, in which it reported that Aaditya Thackeray had been tested positive for ‘Corona’.
Some social media user, however, carefully edited the original screenshot, and replaced the word ‘corona’ in Hindi with ‘HIV/AIDS’ in English.
According to Fact Hunt, the viral screengrab shows the watermark of ‘@OfficeofSid’. This Twitter handle has been temporarily taken down by Twitter for violating its media policy.
This news of Aaditya Thackeray being HIV positive sent social media users in a tizzy, especially due to the stigma and the misconceptions that surround the sexually transmitted infection. More than the disease-related complications, the big problem for these HIV-positive people is the stigma attached to the disease. People living with HIV often face discrimination, violent attacks, harassment, rejection by families, spouses and communities. They are often refused medical treatment and in some cases even denied the last rites before they die. As a result, many keep their status secret.
If HIV infection advances to AIDS, the body becomes prone to opportunistic infections. This puts people at an increased risk of many infections, including a herpes virus called cytomegalovirus. It can cause problems with eyes, lungs, and digestive tract.
Unlike the common perception, HIV is not transmitted by touch or through the air. HIV can only be transmitted through specific bodily fluids so you can’t get HIV from touching someone, hugging them or for that matter shaking their hand. Until now, there is no cure for HIV, although antiretroviral treatment can control the virus, meaning that people with HIV can live long and healthy lives.
The National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) has been successfully running the National Helpline to help HIV/AIDS patients or to answer any sort of query regarding the disease since 1st December 2014. The helpline caters to all the population of India and is reachable from any mobile/landline number through a short code toll-free number 1097.
Aaditya Thackeray tests Coronavirus positive
On March 20, Aaditya Thackeray had taken to Twitter to inform that he had been tested positive for the coronavirus and urged people who came in contact with him to get themselves tested.
“On having mild symptoms of COVID, I had myself tested and I am COVID positive. I request everyone who came in contact with me to get themselves tested. I urge everyone to realise that it is extremely important to not let your guard down. Please follow COVID protocols & stay safe”, tweeted the Maharashtra cabinet minister.
Yesterday it was reported that Aaditya Thackeray’s mother and chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s wife Rashmi Thackeray too tested positive for coronavirus. “Her COVID-19 test came out positive on Monday night. She has been quarantined at `Varsha”, the official residence of the chief minister,” said an official.
Sadly, the coronavirus cases in India, which were on a decline until January 2021, has been rising again sharply with Maharashtra, Punjab and Kerala contributing a little over 76% of the new cases.
Maharashtra reported as many as 31,855 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, its highest ever single-day spike since the outbreak of the pandemic last year. This took the state’s overall caseload to 25,64,881.