Shillong, Nov 30: The two – day State Level Convention on HIV and AIDS organized by the Meghalaya AIDS Control Society (MACS) in collaboration with UNDP, the Meghalaya Legislators Forum on HIV and AIDS (MLFA), UNICEF and other different partnering NGOs got underway on the occasion of World AIDS Day.
This year’s theme for World AIDS Days is “Getting to Zero: zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, zero AIDS related deaths”.
Meghalaya Speaker, Charles Pyngrope was the Chief Guest for the Inaugural function which was held at the Conference hall of the Arts and Culture Department at the State Central Library, Shillong.
In his speech, Pyngrope said that education on HIV and AIDS is still a great concern and that the right to education on health and sex must be included in the curriculum, so as to educate the younger generation. He also reiterated that both electronic and print media should play a proactive role jointly with the MACS so as to spread awareness in the society.
Health and Family Welfare Commissioner and Secretary, DP Wahlang, who chaired the inaugural function informed about the various social activities and Mela which will highlight and give information about AIDS.
He also added that the lack of awareness about AIDS has caused the death of 49 patients in the state alone, which is a cause of concern for the Government and society as a whole.
Wahlang, therefore, called upon the citizens to avail the services of the 18 Integrated Counseling and Testing ICTC centers, in the state where HIV and AIDS can be tested and the A.R.T. centers for medical treatment for HIV and AIDS in Shillong which is linked to Jowai, Nongstoin and Tura, where patients can be treated free of cost, free transport passes and free testing.
Others who spoke on the occasion were Project Director of Meghalaya, AIDS Control, Dr. Laloo and others.
Mentionably, December 1 is annually observed as World AIDS Day so as to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. Government and health officials, NGOs and other organizations demonstrate international solidarity to address the issue of HIV and AIDS and to spread awareness about the status of the pandemic and encourage progress in its prevention, treatment and care in high prevalence countries and around the world.