Joining people all over the globe, World Aids Day observed in the State

Shillong, Dec 01: Joining people all over the globe, World Aids Day was today observed in the State to show support for people living with and affected by HIV and to remember those who lost their lives to AIDS. The theme of the observation was ‘Global Solidarity and Shared Responsibility’.

The programme organised by the Meghalaya AIDS Control Society (MACS) in collaboration with the Meghalaya State Legal Services Authority was held at U Soso Tham Auditorium, Shillong.

Speaking as the Chief Guest, Shri Sampath Kumar, Commissioner & Secretary, Health & Family Welfare Department, Govt. of Meghalaya and President, Meghalaya AIDS Control Society, Shillong informed that Meghalaya ranks 5th in the country in terms of prevalence of HIV cases and 2nd in the highest number of syphilis cases among pregnant women.

Therefore, concerted efforts are required in creating awareness on preventive measures to address these health issues. Furthermore, he cited that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought into focus the importance of healthcare and the need to strengthen the health system. Praising the role of NACO and MACS for their continued fight to educate the masses on HIV and end stigmatization, he stressed on the importance of testing and adherence to treatment.

Shri. N. A. Khan, District and Sessions Judge and Member Secretary of the Meghalaya State Legal Services Authority spoke at length above the legal framework available to protect the rights of those living with HIV/AIDS.

To mark the occasion, Freestyle for 15, an Instagram sports event contest and theme song on HIV/AIDS “Stand Up”, composed and arranged by renowned artist of the State, Shri Lamphang Syiemlieh were launched on the day. Prizes were also distributed to the winners of the ‘Promote HIV Testing’ contest.

Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first international day for global health. In spite of successes made, policy measures, financial resources and the coordinated efforts of all stakeholders is required to reach the goal of eliminating HIV/AIDS globally by 2030.

Further, the theme of the celebration “Global Solidarity and Shared Responsibility” requires the world to come together to ensure that health is fully financed, health systems are strengthened, access is ensured, human rights are respected and the rights of women and girls, and gender equality, are at the centre.

Others who spoke were, Shri. F. Mylliemngap, Peer Educator who shared about discriminations faced and challenges overcome as a peer educator belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community and Dr. (Mrs.) R. Allya, Project Director, Meghalaya AIDS Control Society, Shillong who delivered the welcome address.

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