| Health workers participate in an awareness rally on World AIDS Day in Dibrugarh. Picture by UB Photos |
Guwahati, Dec. 1: The Assam State AIDS Control Society is planning to intensify its awareness drives among Gen-Y by setting up Red Ribbon Clubs in colleges and organising camps in schools.
“To make the adolescents aware of AIDS, we have set up Red Ribbon Clubs in 208 colleges and conducted awareness programmes in 1,000 schools in the state till now. We are setting up the clubs in a phased manner. We hope to cover all colleges within a few years,” said Pabindra Nath Talukdar, the additional project director of the Society.
Talukdar attended a programme today to observe World AIDS Day organised by the Society at International Convention Centre, Kalakshetra, here.
Red Ribbon Club is a movement initiated by the Centre in educational institutions through which students are made aware of AIDS.
Through these clubs youth are encouraged to learn about safe and healthy lifestyles. They promote access to information on safe sex and voluntary blood donation as well as enable them to become “change agents” in HIV & AIDS programmes.
World AIDS Day is held on December 1 each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died.
World AIDS Day was the first global health day and the first one was held in 1988.
According to data available with the Society, 8,580 HIV-positive cases have been detected in Assam from 1998 to September this year.
Though Assam is a low HIV-prevalence state, it is considered highly vulnerable owing to its location, socio-economic and cultural factors.
The project director of the Society, S.K. Roy, said it was working hard to spread awareness among people but they were yet to reach out to some sections. “For example, we have failed to reach out to the migrants,” Roy said.
He appealed to those people who know about the disease to pass on their knowledge to at least two more.
“HIV in Assam is mainly driven by the bridge populations — the migrants and the truckers — which may be responsible for the increasing trend of HIV prevalence among the general population,” the data said.
In Assam, the highest number of HIV-positive cases has been detected in Cachar district followed by Kamrup (metro).
Dibrugarh, Kamrup, Golaghat, Karimganj and Nagaon are the other most-affected districts.