Assam State AIDS Control Society (ASACS) organized foot rally and all girls’ bike rally in Guwahati on Monday to mark the World AIDS Day 2020.
The rallies were flagged off by noted Assam boxer Bhagyabati Kachari, actor-writer Dr Akashitora along with Assam State AIDS Control Society (ASACS) project director Anurag Goel at ASACS premises at 8:30 am.
Along with the rest of the world, Assam ASACS observed the World AIDS Day on Monday with a gamut of activities including rallies, muppet show and public function.
The theme of World AIDS Day-2020 is ‘Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility’.
The rallies, which started from the ASACS premises, moved through different areas of the city and culminated at the Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra, Panjabari.
The state-level function began at Sri Sri Madhabdev International auditorium with the inauguration of the Blood Donation camp by Assam’s minister of state for health, Pijush Hazarika.
Speaking on the occasion as the chief guest, minister Hazarika said, “During the late 90s, many people lost their lives because of AIDS as there was no available treatment. But today, HIV has become a manageable and treatable disease.”
Equating HIV with COVID-19, the minister said, “Both HIV and COVID-19 have no vaccine and prevention is the only vaccine.”
He further said, “Though Assam’s HIV prevalence is less than other Northeastern states, still the state is vulnerable to HIV because we are surrounded by three of the most highly prevalent states including Mizoram, Nagaland and Manipur.”
The minister also praised the efforts of the health department in fighting against the COVID-19 menace.
Speaking on the occasion as the guest of honour, noted singer Nahid Afrin said, “The new generation should stand against stigma and discrimination related to HIV.”
“Forget about the myth of HIV, even the untruth related to HIV must not be spread,” she said.
She also performed the song, ‘Manuhe Manuhor Babe’ by legendary artiste Dr Bhupen Hazarika.
Speaking about the achievements of the HIV programme in Assam, mission director of National Health Mission (NHM), Assam, Dr Lakshmanan S said, “HIV programme in Assam has come a long way since the inception of ASACS in 1998.”
“I am happy that even during the COVID-19 pandemic, Anti Retroviral (ARV) drugs were delivered to HIV-infected people at doorsteps,” he added.
Earlier, director of health services, Assam, Dr Rathindra Bhuyan welcomed the participants in the meeting and outlined the significance of World AIDS Day 2020.
The World AIDS Day was also observed in all the districts across Assam.