International AIDS candlelight Memorial Day observed

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IMPHAL, May 19: The 30th International AIDS candlelight memorial day was observed under the theme “In solidarity”, organized jointly by Manipur Network Positive people (MNP+), Social Awareness Service Organization (SASO), Community Network for Empowerment (CoNE), Lifeline foundation,  Coalition Against Drugs And alcohol (CADA), All Manipur Anti Drugs association (AMADA), Christian Network of Positive people (CNPW), Kripa Society, Care foundation, Solidarity Action against HIV/AIDS in India (SAATHI), Central Organization For Research and Association (CORE), All Manipur Nupi Manbi association (AMANA), FXB India Suraksha, Dedicated People Union (DPU), Human Rights Alert and All Manipur bar association (AMBA) at JN Dance Academy Hall, DM college campus, Imphal today.

Delivering the key note address at the function, L Deepak, President of MNP+ said that today, over 200, 000 people worldwide will participate in the 30th International AIDS candlelight Memorial.

A participant lighting a candle during the Intl AIDS candlelight Memorial Day observation on Sunday at JN Dance Academy
A participant lighting a candle during the Intl AIDS candlelight Memorial Day observation on Sunday at JN Dance Academy

He continued that the International AIDS candlelight Memorial is led by grass root civil societies including networks of People living with HIV/AIDS and non-governmental organisations and other key population affected communities etc. He added that the International AIDS candlelight Memorial is based on the candle light advocacy platform which inspires current thinking to improve the HIV response including UNAIDS strategy getting to zero i.e. zero AIDS related Deaths, Zero new HIV infections and zero stigma and discrimination. Calling on the state government to fulfill three demands that include implementation of the state AIDS policy within three months, strengthening of Manipur Legislature Forum on HIV/AIDS and fund allotment for people living with HIV/AIDS in the local area development and provision of BPL cards to people living with HIV/AIDS, he made the note that the aim of the Memorial is to emphasize the need of people living with and affected by HIV to stand together for health and rights

Santa of AMANA said even as there are various diseases in the world, people discriminate against some diseases and remain in favour of some other diseases. HIV/ AIDS is one sunch against which people discriminate. Hailing MACS for extending support to people living with HIV/AIDS, Santa  expressed his desire about other departments too focuss on the problems of people living with HIV/AIDS.

Speaking on the occasion, MLA Dr. Ibohalbi Singh said that 30th International AIDS candlelight Memorial Day observation function under the theme “In solidarity” is being organized by 18 organizations joining hands together and against this backdrop, the theme makes sense. He maintained that it is a fact that  stigma and discrimination still remains in the medical fraternity when it comes to HIV/AIDS.

He appealed to revive the draft policy framed two years back and asked for the said policy being brought up in the Assembly.

Dr. Shailesh Kumar Chourasia (IAS), Project Director, Manipur State AIDS Control Society said, “We have come close to the goal of getting to zero i.e. zero AIDS related Deaths, Zero new HIV infections and zero stigma and discrimination.” He informed that the incidence of HIV/AIDS is in a stable condition on account of the drive and campaign of NGOs and the public awareness.

Speaker, Th. Lokeshwar Singh vaildated that the public should make all possible efforts to wipe out  HIV/AIDS.

Meanwhile, the Manipur Network of Positive Peoples (MNP+) Thoubal in coordination with Thoubal Network of Positive People (TNP+) Thoubal observed the 30th International AIDS Candlelight Day today at TNP+ Hall, Thoubal Mela ground with Ak (o) Memcha Leima, President of the Kangleipak Women Welfare Association and N Pramo Devi, president, TNP+ Thoubal as chief guest and president respectively, a press statement said.

The program which was supported by Manipur State AIDS Control Society, Imphal was attended by 100 TI partners, social workers, youths and PLHIV coming from different parts of the district.

Candle lighting, floral tribute to the souls who lost their lives for cause of HIV and PLHIVs and experience sharing among the orphan, sharing of NGO representatives were the main highlights of the observation.

Ima Memcha shared her views about the need for all the sections of the society to address the issues of Peoples living with HIV and AIDS and affected families, it said.

The statement added that the need for concern doctors for ART Centre, District Hospital Thoubal, need for availability of the government schemes like AAY, BPL, MGNREGS, nutrition support for the PLHIVs, IAY, RSBT, widow benefit schemes were discussed to address jointly for the betterment of peoples affected and infected by the HIV and AIDS, it said.

During the night candle lighting program was also held at Youth Sporting Club, KiyamSiphai. 40 Meirapaibis attended in the program, it concluded.

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