Sikkim State AIDS Control Society (SSACS) will celebrate the World AIDS Day with a series of programmes to create mass awareness on HIV/AIDS on Saturday. The theme for this year celebration is “Know your HIV Status, Live Life Positively”.
Addressing a press conference here on Friday, SSACS project director Dr Uttam Pradhan said World AIDS Day will be observed at SSACS office premises with series of awareness programmes and felicitations of various organization and individuals who are working selflessly to control HIV/AIDS and creating awareness.
He added that the main objective to observe this day was to spread mass awareness and to eradicate stigma and discrimination associated with this disease. He added that the purpose to observe the World AIDS Day was to educate people about HIV and its causes and to reduce the stigma and encourage people to come forward for their HIV testing.
Speaking on this year theme, Dr Pradhan said the aim of this year’s drive is to encourage people worldwide to get tested. “This becomes highly important as according to a report, only very few percent of people living with HIV are aware of their status. This also raises the risk of the illness spreading unknowingly on account of various reasons that causes HIV/AIDS,” he added.
He expressed that the theme “Know Your Status” mainly stresses the importance of knowing one’s HIV status in order to fight against the disease on time. This is important because maximum number of people keep themselves away from the test, he added.
SSACS in association with Sikkim Mahila Patrakar Sangh will also hold a Candle Light Vigil at Titanic Park on Saturday evening. The celebration will also include street plays at different locations in and around Gangtok. In association with Drug Users forum of Sikkim, SSACS will also organize an awareness programme at Rongneck Jail.
Sikkim stands at the second last position in the number of average HIV infected persons with 0.05% followed by Jammu Kashmir which has 0.03% as per the National Data prepared by NACO.