Stigma about AIDS is changing with awareness

SHILLONG, Dec 1: Meghalaya Chief Secretary, Yeshi Tsering on Saturday said that the world is addressing the menace of AIDS and working together to eliminate the disease by 2030.

Tsering was speaking as the chief guest at the state level observation of the World Aids Day held at Don Bosco Technical School Hall.

The Chief Secretary said that this year’s theme, “Live Life Positively-Know Your Status” are small words but carry a deep meaning.

“It is important for everyone to know one’s own HIV status so that AIDS is not spread,” Tsering said.

He also informed that earlier, people did not come forward to know their status due to the stigma attached with AIDS but the mindset is changing through social awareness.

He urged all specially the youth to safeguard and protect themselves from AIDS.

Meanwhile, Additional Chief Secretary, Peter W Ingty who is in-charge Health and Family Welfare and also the president of the Meghalaya Aids Control Society (MACS) has organized a number of activities to bring about awareness about AIDS.

“Everyone has become complacent but when we have reviews meeting we see the incidence of HIV\AIDS is increasing in a few districts in the State,” Ingty said.

The Additional Chief Secretary also pointed out the need to focus on those districts where the prevalence of HIV was higher.

He also stated that AIDS can be completely eliminated if each one makes it a personal responsibility to contain the disease.

Meanwhile, S Diengdoh, project director, Meghalaya Aids Control Society (MACS) informed the gathering that around 4000 people with HIV are registered with Civil Hospital Shillong and North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS) for Anti-Retroviral Therapy and around 1400 drug users are registered with the various OST centres.

Diengdoh also said that the UN has mandated that it wanted to eliminate mother to child transmission by 2020.

The MACS project director also pointed out that in Meghalaya the three districts of East Jaintia Hills, West Jaintia Hills and East Khasi Hills have seen the prevalence of HIV.

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