World Aids Day
Today is World Aids Day, a day to see what progress has been made in the battle so far and ways people can contribute to help in the effort. This year, World AIDS Day focuses on ‘leadership’, the theme set by the World AIDS Campaign under the five-year slogan “Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise.” The most deadly epidemic has killed more than 25 million people, with an estimated 38.6 million people living with HIV. What progress has India made in this matter?
Surprisingly, its been a good year for India, with new data backed by UNAIDS halving India’s HIV-infected population from 5.2 million last year to 2.5 million. The epidemic is most extreme in the southern half of the country and in the far north-east. The highest HIV prevalence rates are found in Maharashtra in the west; Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka in the south; and Manipur and Nagaland in the north-east.
Some More Good News
Today will also mark the start of a largest campaign aimed at spreading awareness about HIV/AIDS in India, through the specially designed smart train -“Red Ribbon Express” which will cover more than 9,000 kms during its year-long journey across the country, halting at 180 stations on its route for a few days, and spreading its message in remote villages in the vicinity. That’s a brilliant initiative to spread awareness about this disease and what treatments are available. Red Ribbon Express was conceptualized by the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and executed by the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO).
There are 3 coaches in Red Ribbon Express, once each for counseling and medical services, an auditorium cum conference coach and a pantry car. A troupe of 60 specially trained young campaigners will be aboard the three sleeper coaches through the entire duration of the year-long ride. Their job – to travel to remote, inaccessible places in India on buses and bicycles to talk to people, show them documentaries on AIDS, solve their doubts and more importantly clear the misconception about the disease. The HIV epidemic is misunderstood and stigmatised among the Indian public. People infected with HIV have faced violent attacks; been rejected by families, spouses and communities; been refused medical treatment; and even, in some reported cases, denied the last rites before they die.
I am really glad to see some steps taken in the right direction, better late than never we have woken up to reality!
Cricketers Pitch In
Leading cricketers from around the world will show their support for World Aids Day by wearing red ribbon in international matches on December 1 & 2. Players taking part in the India-Pakistan, Sri Lanka-England, South Africa-New Zealand and Zimbabwe-West Indies series will wear the ribbons to raise awareness and reduce stigma about the disease. Read players take on AIDS
There are many ways in which you can support the World AIDS Day.
- Raise awareness of HIV and AIDS in your area.
- Wear a red ribbon and ask others to do the same.
- Protect yourself and your partners – this is the first and best way to stop the spread of HIV.
Take a Look at Some International AID’s Campaigns:
More Aids Awareness Ads