Dharamsala: Mehndi and rangoli contests were organized at the district level function on International women Day at UTHAAN Khanyara. An exhibition on HIV AIDS was also organized for local women, drivers and labourers. The women volunteers pinned red ribbons on chief guest Dr KS Dogra, CMO Kangra.
In the Rangoli contest, Rama bagged the first prize, followed by Neetu and Sapna at second and third, respectively. In the Mehndi contest, Suniti, Arti and Sunita were the winners, and were given cash prizes by CMO Kangra. Director UTHAAN Ramesh Mastana stated that as per the statistics of National family health survey over 80% women have heard of HIV/AIDs, but only 30% have comprehensive knowledge, hence the month of March 2010 is being observed as Women’s HIV awareness month. He further added that pinning red ribbons is symbolic of commitment to the cause of HIV awareness and solidarity for the positive people living with HIV AIDS and all participants were pinned red ribbons in the event. Rita from UTHAAN stated that NAREGA has help in economic empowerment of women, but also demanded that 8th March should be declared a National Holiday to enable women to celebrate their Day.
District AIDS Project Officer Dr RK Sood shared his perspectives on facilities for prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV and status of HIV in the region. CMO Kangra appealed to all to know their HIV status in ICTCs and avail the free and confidential facility by the government. He also implored all to go for the test before marriage. He further added that under the campaign, sensitization meetings and competitions for women will be held at village and block level till 15th March. A brainstorming session on Women and HIV Reducing risks and vulnerabilities is also coming up on Friday, 12th March, at Dharmshala to evolve future strategies for halting and reversing the HIV trend.