Union Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar virtually inaugurated the World AIDS Day celebrations at Talkatora stadium today. The event was attended by more than 3000 people cutting across states, people living with HIV (PLHIV) communities, NGOs, CSOs, development partners and youth. Special Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Shri S. Gopalakrishnan was also present at the event.
At the outset, Dr. Bharti Pravin Pawar through her video message said that “World AIDS Day which is globally observed on 1st December since 1988, is an opportunity to show solidarity with people living with HIV (PLHIV) and create awareness for the same.” “The theme of this year’s World AIDS Day is “Equalize”, which is a slogan for a call to action for all connected with this crusade.
It calls for taking practical actions needed for addressing inequalities in the HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Viruses) infected and affected populations across the country and also help in ending AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome)”, she added.
Dr. Pawar focused on increasing social inclusivity and using a multisectoral approach to tackle HIV. She said that creativity through efforts of Civil Society Organizations, youth communities established in the colleges and universities must be harnessed. Red ribbon clubs are playing an important role too and with more than 12,500 such clubs they can be used to create massive awareness.”
She reiterated the commitment of the government under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister towards strengthening HIV/AIDS and STD (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) response. Some steps being National AIDS toll-free helpline, lifetime free ART services and regular viral load monitoring for PLHIV.
Dr. Pawar also highlighted the need to reduce discrimination against the affected population. Government in this regard has notified “HIV & AIDS policy for establishments 2022”.
Several reports were released at the event:
4th edition of Sankalak (2022): Flagship report of NACP which shows the status of National AIDS response in the country. It contains programmatic and epidemic data and factsheets at both National and State/UT level.
Three Surveillance & Epidemiology Reports: These are technical reports made in line with globally accepted model-based estimation methodology and processes.
HIV Sentinel Surveillance Plus 2021- Antenatal Clinic Attendees
HIV Sentinel Surveillance Plus 2021- Central Prison Sites
India HIV Estimates – 2021
White paper on Transgender Health: intends to strengthen promotion of comprehensive health services for Transgender persons along with providing enabling environment.
Release of Prevention Progress Report 2021-22: an update report on progress and important activities for provision of services to High-Risk Groups (HRGs), Bridge populations and other vulnerable populations under NACP.
National Digital Repository: It is a digital hub where all IEC resource materials related to HIV and AIDS will be available for common public.
National Data Hub of NACO: A central digital repository for key reports, documents and all approved data of NACO for internal use.
Campaign on Stigma and Discrimination: A countrywide campaign (#AbNahiChalega) is being launched for elimination of HIV-related Stigma and discrimination among people.
Special Secretary Shri S. Gopalakrishnan inaugurated the exhibition showcasing achievements of National AIDS Control Program (NACP) and important activities undertaken during the year. Speaking at the event, Special Secretary emphasized on accurate detection and treatment, ensuring care services reach to remotest part of the country.
Ms Hekali Zhimomi, Additional Secretary & DG NACO congratulated the country for an exceptional response in reducing HIV burden in the country. She said that “annual new HIV infections have declined by 46% between 2010-2021 against the global average of 32%. AIDS related mortality has also declined by 76% against the global average of 52%.”
Event also saw the cultural performances by folk groups from around the country and a Hunar Haat set up by community members from states. Re-emphasizing empowerment and inclusivity, Hunar Haat represented the idea of upskilling of community members so that they get better employment opportunities in the future and will therefore be more empowered.
Ms. Nidhi Kesarwani, Director, NACO, Dr. Roderico H. Ofrin, WHO Representative to India, Mr. David Bridger, Country Director UNAIDS were also present at the event along with other dignitaries.