Guwahati: Along with the rest of the world, World AIDS Day was observed on Saturday in Imphal. The programme entitled 'Know your HIV status' was organised on the occasion under the aegis of Manipur State AIDS Control Society at 1st Battalion Manipur Rifles ground.
Governor of Manipur, Dr. Najma Heptulla, Chief Minister N Biren Singh and Health and Family Welfare Minister L Jayantakumar Singh attended the programme as the chief guest, functional president and guest of honour respectively.
Speaking on the occasion, Heptullah said that it is imperative to make modifications and improvements in the state AIDS Policy statement so as to suit the changing circumstances and trend. Observing that the HIV/AIDS issue is no longer a mere health issue, she said that it has covered all aspects of life — social, economic, legal, human rights and political. The Governor further stated that people should voluntarily go for an HIV Test before their marriage said that "This is not a battle to be fought by health officials and activist, but civil society groups should also come forward".Appreciating the role of NGO's Heotullah spoke about the need to spread more awareness about the disease
The Chief minister N.Biren Singh delibarated that though the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is declining in the state, there is still need for a collective effort of public, NGOs and the government to achieve the target of having no new HIV infection in Manipur by 2024.
He also said that as per the records provided by the State Health Department, the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the state is 1.43 % against the all-India rate of 022%.
The Chief Minister further said that “It is a matter of concern that 36% of the population of the State is still under Below Poverty Line (BPL) through the per-head fund provided by the Centre to the State is three times higher as compared with the bigger states.”
Health minister L Jayantakumar said only awareness can put and to the stigma and discrimination against the AIDS patients. He also called for a collective effort for the eradication of the disease from the state.
Best performing NGOs and District Aids Control officers were felicitated. Prizes for the written quiz and on-the-spot painting competitions were also distributed on the occasion.