Chandigarh 30th November 2017 (Pooja Goyal) :

World AIDS day is observed on 1st December every year since 1988. This day provides an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the cause of HIV prevention & treatment, draw attention about HIV epidemic around the world, to raise awareness about HIV, to remember those who have died, to show solidarity with people living with HIV, to celebrate survival and health. The day is associated with the Red Ribbon, an instantly recognizable symbol indicating support to the cause.

The theme for World AIDS Day 2017 is “MY HEALTH MY RIGHT’.

To mark World AIDS Day 2017, a two day programme was inaugurated today by Smt. Asha Kumari Jaiswal, Mayor, UT, Chandigarh along with Dr. Vanita Gupta, Project Director at Elante Mall, Chandigarh.

In her inaugural address, the Mayor complimented and encouraged the Health Department to continue even more aggressively, the concerted activities towards ending AIDS. She announced that sensitization programme for Municipal Counselors would be held shortly so that they may further educate the community in their respective Wards. She also committed support in establishing free counseling & testing centres in the Municipal Dispensaries.

While addressing the Media, Dr. Vanita Gupta, Project Director, CSACS shared the data indicating the success of the AIDS Control program in the U.T., Chandigarh. She informed that in Chandigarh, the prevalence of HIV has shown a steady decline from 0.27% in 2008 to 0.08% in 2017. The local population infected with HIV is 21% of the total detected in Chandigarh ICTCs (To date in this FY– HIV positive detected in ICTCs = 417, HIV positive from Chandigarh population = 88).

The HIV prevalence in Blood units donated voluntarily in Chandigarh is 0.07% which further indicates that the HIV prevalence in the Union Territory is low. Blood collected through voluntary donation is 89% of all Blood collected. In April 2017, the Government of India launched the “Test & Treat Policy” thereby targeting all HIV positive cases be put on treatment. In Chandigarh, there are 5480 patients alive and on treatment.

The target has been given to End AIDS by 2030. Towards this, a concentrated effort is being made to reach 90:90:90 by 2020. The first “90” indicates that atleast 90% of the HIV positive population should know their HIV status. This has already been achieved by Chandigarh.

The event started with a Signature Campaign wherein people came forwarded to make a commitment to gather correct information about HIV/AIDS and took a pledge to join the movement to fight back HIV/AIDS. Awareness activities like Drawing competition, Slogan writing competition on the theme of HIV /AIDS, Voluntary Blood Donation are being organized for the visitors. DART game on the theme of HIV/AIDS is a big attraction among the visitors. A large female Puppet is moving around the Mall, meeting the visitors & dispersing information on HIV/AIDS.

These activities will continue on 1st December as well. A large number of people participated in the awareness games.

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