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Naco post mulled for HIV icon

Imphal, Dec. 15: Khundrakpam Pradipkumar of Manipur, holder of Mr World title and an icon for people living with HIV, may soon become the brand ambassador of National AIDS Control Organisation (Naco).

The Manipur State AIDS Control Society, of which he is already the brand ambassador, said they were getting an encouraging response from the national organisation and would formally place the proposal when the national body meets in Delhi in the next few days. “We are hoping for a positive response,” project director of the state society Shailesh Kumar Chourasia told this correspondent today.

The state society came up with the idea after Pradipkumar won a gold medal in the 65kg category in the South Asia Body-Building Championship at Ludhiana last month. He won a bronze medal in the same weight category in the World Body-Building championship held at Bangkok early this month.

“Pradipkumar has won international medals by representing India. He is a national hero. He should not remain confined to Manipur but represent AIDS control programmes at the national level. He could interact with people living with HIV in different states and encourage them to follow his footsteps,” Chourasia said on the sidelines of a function organised by the state society here today to felicitate the body-builder.

A state society team will leave Imphal for Delhi tomorrow to attend the two-day Naco meet from Tuesday.

Addressing the gathering, Chourasia said the state society would enlist more of Pradipkumar’s services in its campaigns to encourage children and spread the anti-HIV/AIDS message.

Devesh Deval, director of the state chapter of National Rural Health Mission, said they would request Pradipkumar to participate in rural health mission programmes as well if his exercise schedules allowed such activities.

Pradipkumar, who exercises two hours daily, said he requires Rs 30,000-40,000 per month for his nutrition. He said he could participate in the two international championships with financial help from supporters, friends and well-wishers.

He is preparing to participate in the next Mr Universe competition scheduled for December 2013 in Hungary.

The society today presented to him a coat and Rs 80,000 — his remuneration of Rs 8,000 per month for 10 months (June 2012-March 2013) for being its brand ambassador.

NGOs working in the field of HIV/AIDS urged the government to suitably reward Pradipkumar for his efforts and successes.