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India Marks World AIDS Day with a Call for Community Leadership in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS

Speakers from the community shared their experiences of benefiting from the National AIDS Control Program (NACP) in the event.

Shivam Dwivedi
India Marks World AIDS Day with a Call for Community Leadership in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS (Photo Source: @SP Singh Baghel/twitter)
India Marks World AIDS Day with a Call for Community Leadership in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS (Photo Source: @SP Singh Baghel/twitter)

In a significant commemoration of World AIDS Day, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Prof. S. P. Singh Baghel, along with Keshab Mahanta, Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of Assam, inaugurated the event at the Srimanta Sankaradeva International Auditorium in Guwahati, Assam. This year's theme, ‘Let Communities Lead,’ resonated throughout the ceremony.

Reflecting on India's journey in combating the disease, Prof. Baghel acknowledged the pivotal role played by communities in transforming fear into discipline and resilience. While highlighting the diminishing fear surrounding HIV/AIDS, he urged people to remain vigilant.

Prof. Baghel underscored the government's commitment to eliminating HIV/AIDS, emphasizing the ongoing Phase V of the National AIDS and STD Control program with the budget of Rs. 15,471 crores. He praised the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act, 2017, as a game-changer in strengthening human rights for patients and combatting societal discrimination.

Prof. Baghel distributed Ayushmaan Cards, with Assam achieving the distinction of distributing the highest number among large states. The Union Minister spoke about India's success in controlling the disease under Prime Minister Modi's leadership, citing initiatives like the Test and Treat Policy, Mission Sampark, and the HIV AIDS Control Act.

Country Director of UNAIDS, David Bridger, acknowledged the crucial role of community-led organizations in HIV response. He commended India's national AIDS response program, citing it as a global example of commitment and strategic action. The WHO representative to India, Dr. Rodrico H Ofrin, virtually congratulated India on achieving a 76.5% decline in annual AIDS-related deaths and a 46.3% decline in new HIV infections since 2010.

The event witnessed the release and launch of several documents, including the SANKALAK report, India HIV Estimates 2022, NACO Calendar 2024, National Communication Strategy, Laboratory Technical Guidelines on Early Infant Diagnosis, Prevention Progress Update 2022-23, and a Research Compendium. Stalls displaying programmatic achievements and interventions were featured, alongside a blood donation camp that garnered enthusiastic participation.

The event, attended by over 1500 individuals from various states, included people living with HIV, NGOs, CSOs, members of the armed forces, NCC, development partners, and youth. Avinash Joshi, Ms. Nidhi Kesarwani, Dr. Siddharth Singh, and Dr. Indranoshee Das were among the dignitaries present, highlighting the collaborative efforts to combat HIV/AIDS in India.

Also Read: Nitin Gadkari to be the Chief Guest for 'MFOI Awards 2023'; Flag Off 'MFOI Kisan Bharat Yatra'

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