As observed across the globe, Manipur also observed World AIDS Day 2019 under the theme ‘Communities Make The Difference’ on Sunday. The main function was organised by Manipur State AIDS Control Society (MACS) at 1st Manipur Rifles ground Imphal.
Speaking as chief guest of the function, Health and Family Welfare Minister L Jayantakumar said Manipur also need to play a major role in achieving the global target for complete eradication of HIV/AIDS by 2030.
Such observance has given a platform for People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) and HIV negative people to come together to jointly tackle the HIV/AIDS spread.
While pointing out that human resource is among the most important resources of a community, he stated that it is only the loss of a community if PLHIV in that community remain aloof fearing stigma as the potentials in them will not be utilised.
He appealed to the people not to look down on PLHIV but to extend the much needed helping hand for them to come forward. There should be equal treatment in every sectors including health, education, he added.
Jayantakumar further stated that Manipur coming down from 3rd to 5th in the highest prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS among the states of India has shown that spread has been controlled to some extent. He also lauded MACS and NGOs for putting continuous efforts in this regard.
Regarding the shortage of ART faced by the State from time to time, he said that NACO has been requested to give buffer stock of the drugs as the state is in the periphery.
The health minister also assured to provide AYUSH dietary and nutrition supplement to PLHIV for coping up with the side effects of ART at the earliest.
It may be mentioned that a community representative and a college student, who has been orphaned by HIV/AIDS, had earlier highlighted the sufferings PLHIV went through to cope up with the side effects of ART.
While noting that eradication of HIV/AIDS needs total involvement of everyone, Jayantakumar maintained that the state government will soon frame a state AIDS policy with MACS currently working on the central policy to adapt it to the state needs.
He also urged all the PLHIV to come forward boldly and make suggestions, inputs and contributions.
Taking part in the event, education minister, Th Radheshyam urged the people to identify and bring out destitute children affected by HIV/AIDS especially orphans and homeless so that the government can extend proper aid to them.
He added that the government is also working on how to design schemes so that such destitute children may be benefitted in education or any other sectors.
SHGs of PLHIV also opened various stalls at the venue.
Rally, spot painting competition, musical evening cum grand finale of Red Ribbon Manipur Idol 2019 were the main highlights of today’s observance.