World AIDS Day

Youths’ role in preventing HIV transmission crucial: Taki

ZIRO, 1 Dec: The state’s youths can play a crucial role in preventing HIV transmission, Agriculture Minister Tage Taki said.

Attending the World AIDS Day programme here in Lower Subansiri district on Thursday, Taki said that “everyone should make an effort to stop and prevent further spread of HIV in the state.”

Stressing that “the role of the youths is very crucial to curtail the menace of HIV,” he said that, “with joint and continuous effort, HIV can be eliminated from the Earth.”

Arunachal Pradesh State Aids Control Society (APSACS) Project Director Dr Riken Rina said that the theme for this year’s World AIDS Daym ‘Equalise’, “emphasises that every individual, irrespective of social status, should have equal opportunity to access services to HIV treatment and counselling.”

He said that HIV can be prevented by “following the principle of ABC, where A stands for abstinence, B stands for ‘be faithful to your partner’, and C stands for ‘condom use’.”

Highlighting the HIV scenario in the state, he said that

710 HIV positive cases were detected in the state till 31 September, 2022.

“This is just the official figure, and the actual figure could be much more,” he added.

The minister also expressed concern over the rising cases of drug abuse among the youths of the state. Highlighting the connection between HIV and drug abuse, he said, “We might be sitting on a time bomb due to excessive drug abuse in the state, which may explode anytime in the form of HIV.”

Indira Gandhi Technological & Medical Science University (IGTAMSU) Vice Chancellor Dr D Rajagopal said that HIV/AIDS is preventable but not curable.

“HIV can be prevented and controlled only though mass participation. Knowledge is the only vaccine against HIV,” he said.

A skit competition on HIV among students of various colleges and schools of Ziro was organised to mark the day. Nine skit play groups, representing various schools and colleges, took part in the competition.

The students of the IGTAMSU won the competition, while VKV Ziro came second and Padi Lailang Public School took the third position.

IEC Deputy Director Tashor Pali gave away the certificates and prize money to the winners of the competition.

IGTAMSU HoD Vidyanath Singh also spoke.

Earlier, Taki flagged off an awareness rally, which saw the participation of around 1,000 students from different schools and colleges of Ziro valley.

The programme was organised by the APSACS, in collaboration with the IGTAMSU.

The day was also observed in all three subdivisions of Tawang district.

In Tawang, Deputy Commissioner Kesang Ngurup Damo said that “the grassroots-level ASHAs are providing commendable service to the people by giving them awareness and humanitarian service.”

He expressed concern over “the reported case scenario of AIDS,” and said that “we need to get tested voluntarily, as the number of HIV infected case of country as a whole is decreasing but unfortunately it is increasing in our state, and if we do rigorous testing like Covid test, the number of infected may be higher.”

The DC said also that “everyone should work together, right from the grassroots level, to prevent further spread of HIV, and encourage testing.”

DACO Dr Urgen Lhamu said that the day is observed to show support to those suffering from HIV, and to pay condolences to those who lost their life because of HIV/AIDS.

Among others, ICTC counsellor Dondup Pema, District Hospital Medical Superintendent (MS) Dr N Namshum, DMO Dr Rinchin Neema, and Monpa Mimang Tsogpa secretary-general Namgay Tsering also spoke.

The DMO informed that, “on request from hospital authority, the three MLAs of Tawang district have agreed to donate Rs 5 lakhs each out of pocket for procuring emergency medicines for the district hospital.”

Later, the DC handed over the first lot of medicines for the first three months to the DMO and the MS.

This was followed by voluntary testing for HIV by all the members who attended the meeting, including public leaders, members of CBOs, student leaders, and officers.

The NSS cell of Dera Natung Government College in Itanagar observed the World AIDS Day by organising an extempore speech competition, “focusing on awareness about HIV/AIDS and reducing its stigma from society,” it informed in a release. (With DIPRO input)