New Delhi, Dec 1 (HS): The Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare Dr. Harshvardhan today said that no one should discriminate with the people suffering from HIV and AIDS in their thoughts, behaviours while interacting with them. He was speaking at the event celebrating the World AIDS Day, organised by the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO), here today.
“Let us shun any kind of discrimination in our thoughts, actions and behaviour in our interaction with those who have HIV and AIDS. Let us do away with nomenclatures such as “AIDS/HIV communities”, said Dr. Harshvardhan adding, “Let us not bracket people who suffer from and have survived various diseases”.
He said, “While we have travelled a long distance in our fight against AIDS and HIV, there are still some significant milestones that need to be achieved for making the country free of HIV AIDS by 2030.”
Dr Harsh Vardhan commended the immense contribution of the partner communities who have played a yeoman role in spreading information about the disease, to dispel misinformation, fear and apprehensions, and helped people to access testing and treating services of NACO.
“You are our pillars of strength who have built bridges with the under served, un-served and marginalised communities”, he stated. The global theme of this year’s World AIDS Day is ‘Communities Make A Difference’.
At the event, he awarded the various Red Ribbon Clubs which have mobilised the youth and communities across the country. More than 1200 Red Ribbon Clubs have contributed to this collective effort, he stated.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that during 2018-19, around 79 percent of people living with HIV knew their HIV status, 82 percent diagnosed with HIV infection were receiving free anti-retro-viral therapy and 79 percent were viraly suppressed.
The Union Minister emphasized upon the newer steps which are being taken by Government of India to achieve Sustainable Development Goal of ending the epidemic of AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
The event was witnessed by Dr. Arun Kumar Panda, Secretary (MSME) & Secretary (in-charge), Health & Family Welfare, Sanjeeva Kumar, Special Secretary (NACO), Alok Saxena, Jt. Sec. (NACO), Dr. Bilali Camara, Country Coordinator, UNAIDS, Dr. Henk Bekedam, WHO Representative (India) and more than 1200 members of partners and various CSOs, NGOs and BSF, CISF.