Zindagi Zindabad campaign in Kangra to fight AIDS



Dharamsala: With 748 HIV positive cases and 60 confirmed AIDS cases in the district, health authorities in Kangra are waking up to make efforts to contain the disease at a war footing. Recently an AIDS awareness campaign – Zindagi Zindabad – was flagged off at Dharamsala by chief medical officer Dr A Mahajan as part of a wider multi-pronged project to fight the disease.

Dr Mahajan said various services were being provided in the district under the National AIDS Control Programme, including awareness through Red Ribbon clubs in schools and colleges for adolescents, condom distribution through Indian Oil petrol pumps, and promotion of voluntary blood donation.

Mr BD Sharma, in-charge of the multimedia campaign said in Himachal over 90% people know about AIDS, which makes it one of most aware states in the country, however, there was need to take the initiative further. He further stated that the Red Ribbon Wagon campaign has been launched that includes exhibition in a mobile van, education through folk media shows, discussion on HIV/AIDS and prizes for public. The campaign, to last for 50 days, is being conducting daily at various places. The unique feature of the campaign is direct interaction with people.
He further said the objective of the campaign was develop an understanding about infection to reduce stigma & discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS; strengthen people’s knowledge about the measures to be taken to prevent HIV and AIDS infection; and disseminating information regarding primary prevention services.
Nodal officer Dr RK Sood said the district has five integrated counseling and testing centres  – ZH Dharamsala, Dehra, Palampur, Kangra and Medical College Tanda – where confidential HIV testing services are available. The samples are tested thrice to confirm the report, as compared to private labs which conduct only one test.

Regarding services for those who are HIV positive, he stated that free anti-retroviral treatment is given at Medical College Shimla, and bus fare for the journey with one attendant is also reimbursed to them. Milk powder is given to lactating mothers of infants who are HIV positive. Financial assistance of Rs 300-700 per month is also being for children of HIV positives up to the age of 15 years, at the District Integrated and Counseling Centre.

He hoped that the campaign would be able to generate people participation and decrease fear misconceptions, and empower people to protect themselves, and avail the benefit of free services provided by the government.

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