IMPHAL, November 27: A state media sensitization program organized by Project Vihaan, sub-recipient, Manipur Network of Positive People (MNP+) was held at Yaiskul Hiruhanba Leikai at the office of the MNP+ today.
The program was attended by senior journalist, Irengbam Arun as moderator of the discussion.
Other invitees included president of MNP+ and project director of Vihaan project/ SR, L Deepak, program manager of Vihaan , Ratan; P Tilotamma, monitoring and evaluation officer of MACS and various representatives of print and electronic media.
Services to be rendered to the public under the project include counselling services, support group meeting for PLHIV, CD4 testing and CD4 follow up, outreach service and home based care, emergency health referrals among other services.
In an open discussion under the theme, “Areas of support from the media,” P Tilotamma, monitoring officer of MACS highlighted the achievements of the Manipur Aids Control Society.
She said that since September 1986 till September 2013, nearly 7,65,014 individuals have been tested for HIV/AIDS with 43, 882 being tested positive till date.
Every three months there is an average detection of 500 persons being affected with the virus, she said before observing that there is a need to strengthen advocacy and sensitization on the issue which can be communicated to the general masses through the media.
The effort is to give information and follow up counselling to the public regarding the HIV pandemic, she said.
The agendas deliberated today included role of media in advocacy issues, role of media in highlighting the needs of PLHIV, role of media in addressing stigma and discrimination, in tackling the HIV epidemic and mainstreaming, in creating an enabling environment and in creating a knowledge base for HIV/AIDS related services.
MNP+ president, L Deepak said that Manipur ranks second in India for maximum numbers of HIV patients but there has been no proper action taken up by state government for proper redressal exclusive of instituting the Manipur Aids Control Society.
But in Assam, a drug resistant testing machine has been installed which can diagnose the present status of People Living with HIV/AIDS which is still absent in Manipur, he said.
He further lamented that no proper funds have been earmarked by the government to control the pandemic.
The program concluded with the note that a sustained campaign needs to be initiated and the work of cubing infection cannot be left out to non-government organizations alone. A cumulative effort is needed with participation from the public and media plays a pivotal role in addressing the issues.