World AIDS day: Drug addiction major reason for HIV/AIDS, says Govt

Srinagar

Minister for Health & Medical Education, Bali Bhagat has called for a joint fight against the AIDS which is the biggest challenge before the world. He said numerous efforts are being made at the global level to save the people from the deadly virus of HIV, but still positive results are not coming to fore.

Speaking at a function at Super Specialty Hospital (SSH) being organized by the J&K AIDS Control Society in association with the SSH to commemorate the World AIDS Day here today, the Minister said that this biggest challenge cannot be fought by the Government alone, but it requires dedicated efforts of the entire society, especially the religious, social organizations. They should come forward voluntarily to play their role in curbing the menace of AIDS from the society.

He said the basic and major reason for HIV/AIDS is drug addiction which is spreading like wild fire in the society and there is great need to deal with this another big challenge that is galloping the younger generation. He suggested setup Mohalla Committees to keep a close vigil on the activities of the local youth and using their influence on the youth, who are indulging in such activities with the help of their parents and teachers to save their lives and future. Such youth can be motivated and counseled to keep away from these activities, besides the Counseling and De-addiction Centers established by the J&K AIDS Society in the GMCs can extend their help to such youths.

He announced to set up Counseling & De-addiction Centres in every District Hospital to help the HIV positive cases and creating awareness among the youth to prevent further spread of AIDS. Presently the AIDS Society is providing free treatment facilities like lab tests and medicines to the HIV patients and contemplating measures to rehabilitate them appropriately and providing them basic support for their dignified living. He appreciated the functioning of the AIDS Control Society and said that this organization has a complete road map and its performance is laudable. He further asked the functionaries of the Society to re-dedicate and make missionary efforts in mitigating the problems of the AIDS victims and enhance their efforts in the vulnerable areas in creating mass awareness about this dreaded disease and its preventive measures. He also called upon the credible NGOs to come forward and contribute in this noble cause in association with the AIDS Control Society.

On the occasion, Project Director, J&K AIDS Control Society, Dr. Mushtaq Ahmed Rather gave resume of the activities of the Society and preventive measures initiated to keep a further check on such cases.

Highlighting the importance of the day, he apprised that this year’s theme and slogan is “Right to Health and My Health, My Right”. He said everyone has a right to health including those living with AIDS. He informed that J&K is a low prevalence State with only 0.05% AIDS cases, whose number was 5376 by September, 2017. Presently 2280 patients are availing treatment from Society’s ART Centres.

He further informed that the AIDS Society is implementing the programmes of NACO, under which 36 Integrated Counseling & Testing Centres, 69 Facility Integrated Counseling and Testing Centres & 6 Sexually Transmitted Infection Clinics have been established across the State. The NACO supported Blood Banks are functional at regional and district hospitals. The number of voluntary blood donation has also increased to more than 80 per cent. The ART Centres are also functional at GMC, Jammu, SKIMS, Srinagar, Kathua, Udhampur, Rajouri and Leh to facilitate the HIV positive patients and providing counseling to youth.

Earlier, the Minister inaugurated the voluntary blood donation camp which was jointly organized by the AIDS Control Society and Sant Nirankari Charitable Foundation. More than 50 units of blood were donated by the volunteers on the occasion.

He also interacted with the volunteers, AIDS victims, students of para-medical schools, NCC cadets, who specially participated in the programme and displayed their skills through different mediums of arts like slogan writing, poster making, rangoli making, skits and cultural items to convey message on the causes of HIV and its prevention. Minister and other audience appreciated the wonderful art work and also gave mementoes to the best adjudged participants.

Prominent among those present on the occasion included, Secretary Technical, Health & Medical Education, Dr. Abdul Kabir, Director Family Welfare, Dr. Sameer Mattoo, Registrar Academic, Dr. Yashpal Sharma, Director Health Services, Dr. Gurjeet Singh, Managing Director, JKMSCL, Inderjeet Bhagat, acting Principal GMC, Dr. Bela Mahajan, several faculty Members of GMC, Medical Superintendents of all Associated Hospitals, Principals of AMT Schools, members of various social organizations and prominent citizens.

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