Kohima, Oct. 29: The government has come out with several welfare programmes for people living with HIV under the Nagaland State AIDS Policy.
Various departments have started programmes for around 13,687 people living with HIV in the state.
According to Nagaland State AIDS Policy, protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedom for all is essential to reduce vulnerability to HIV/AIDS. It says HIV status would not be a deterrent to employment opportunities, right to marriage and inheritance.
Women, adolescent girls and people living with disability will be empowered to protect themselves from the risk of HIV/AIDS infection.
Under the women development department, self-help groups (SHGs) have been set up in 128 villages across the state for women living with HIV/AIDS. Nutritional support to females through positive network programmes started since 2004 and 767 HIV-positive women benefited from the programme.
The transport department is considering free rides for people living with HIV/AIDS to access treatment.
The labour department is also considering National Health Insurance Scheme for people living with HIV/AIDS while the department of social welfare is supporting de-addiction and rehabilitation centres.
The department of higher education has formed Red Ribbon Clubs in 57 colleges while the home department has framed workplace policy on HIV/AIDS for police.
The department of power has printed HIV/AIDS messages on monthly bills. The department of school education carried out programmes from Classes V to XII.
The state institute of rural development provides training to self-help groups on HIV/AIDS and the department of information and public relations publishes a full-page article on HIV/AIDS in the monthly newsletter, The Worrier. The suggested scope for further collaboration are incorporation of HIV/AIDS session in training programmes, allocation of Indira Awas Yojana schemes and Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana for the people living with HIV/AIDS.
The project director of Nagaland State AIDS Control Society, N.L. Changkija, suggested inclusion of people living with HIV/AIDS in the computer literacy programme.
She also suggested creating HIV awareness among persons with disabilities as they are vulnerable to HIV infection. Changkija called for integrating HIV prevention and access to comprehensive services package into anti-trafficking initiatives and scale up essential services of nutrition, care and support for women and children affected and infected by HIV/AIDS.
She also suggested spread of general awareness on HIV/AIDS prevention among students. For backward areas, she urged the department of underdeveloped areas to include people living with HIV/AIDS in the income generation schemes.
The state AIDS policy will also set up a state-level ethical committee to review and give necessary approval before any external agency conducts research in the state. The state will also encourage national and foreign investment on HIV/AIDS related research.