Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur today launched nutrition scheme for children living with HIV-positive in the state during a state level awareness campaign organised here today by HP State AIDS Control Society on the occasion of National Youth Day.He said this initiative would go a long way providing nutritional supplement and boosting immunity of around 400 youth up to 18 years of age who had been detected positive for HIV. He said the state government would also provide every possible support to these children to enable them living a normal and healthy life.The Chief Minister said the state government has also taken another important decision to make it mandatory for every expectant mother to go for HIV test from this year so that in case any mother is HIV-positive, the virus did not pass to the baby.
Expressing his deep concern over the raising cases of AIDS, which at present were around 5700 in the state, he said there was need for massive awareness about this disease up to the village level. The NGOs and individuals would have to come forward in supplementing the efforts of the health department in making every citizen aware about HIV. He said awareness campaign should be intensified in schools and colleges besides giving special focus on organising skits, street shows, which were effective mode of communication amongst the common masses.Speaking on the occasion, Education Minister Suresh Bhardwaj said drug abuse continues to painstakingly seep into the society and especially younger generation was falling prey to it. He said drugs were being supplied in various forms and it was must to keep check and to take serious action against those involved in it. He said the state government was very serious over the issue of drug abuse and it was committed for a drug-free society.
He said the education department was committed to work in close coordination with the health department would provide special facility of education to all children living with HIV-positive in the state. The Chief Minister earlier inaugurated the Red Ribbon fair organised by the HP AIDS Control Society on the Ridge, where culture programme was also organised. He also flagged-off the half marathon organised on this occasion and two ICTC vans which would be used for AIDS awareness campaign throughout the state.Jai Ram Thakur launched the website and twitter handle of the Society and presented awards to various NGOs and individuals for their excellent work in ICTC and best ART centres