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‘˜HIV/AIDS Need High Level Intervention’

IMPHAL, Nov 30: In order to effectively check the spread of HIV/AIDS in Manipur, Ministers, MLAs and other higher officials of the Government need to be convinced first, secretary of Manipur Legislators’ Forum on HIV/AIDS (ML-FA) and MLA of Oinam A/C Dr I Ibohalbi has stated.

Speaking as chief guest at the one-day constituency level convention on HIV/AIDS organized jointly by MLFA and Kuki Students’ Organization (Saikul Block) at Saikul Model Higher Secondary School today, Dr Ibohalbi pointed out that stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS has been on the rise in Manipur.

One of the main reasons for this is lack of proper understanding of the nature of the epidemic and dedication among the Ministers, MLAs and other officials concerned. So, if we are to uproot the epidemic, then these Ministers, MLAs and officials need to be convinced first.

Dr Ibohalbi further pointed out that although the department concerned of the Government has taken up some welfare measures for the people living with HIV/AIDS, there are still many areas like initiation of economic development program and installation of PCR machines for them which need to be taken care of.

Without the economic development programs, people living with HIV/AIDS would continue to suffer regardless of the awareness programs, care support and intervention programs being taken up by the Government in association with various NGOs working in the field, Dr Ibohalbi explained.

So taking due consideration of this fact,  MLFA has prevailed upon the Government for extending the benefits of the various schemes taken up by the Department to people living with HIV/AIDS as well, he added.

In their respective addresses, MLA of Saikul A/C Doukhomang, who presided over the convention, MLA of Kshetrigao A/C Th Nandakishore and MLA of Chandel A/C Thongkholun Haokip appealed for collective responsibility in fighting against HIV/AIDS. Earlier delivering the key note address of the convention, community development co-ordinator of World Vision Paominthang Lapheng  stressed on community participation in combating HIV/AIDS and informed that the number of people living with HIV/AIDS in Senapati district climb up to 606.

Among this, 306 of them including 100 children are under ART treatment. As of Saikul block alone, there are 385 HIV/AIDS affected people including 52 children. But only 100 of them have so far received ART benefit. Participating in the convention as one of the resource persons, Pradipkumar, who is a HIV positive but has won the title of Mister India in body building, said that although there has been no cure for HIV/AIDS in the world, the disease can be managed.

So, there is no need for fear among the affected people. HIV/AIDS affected people should also be treated with love and care, he added. Coming out strongly against the conduct of the Government which had publicly announced that he would be given job but had been belied, Pradipkumar said such double standard of the Government has shown its discriminatory attitude towards people living with HIV/AIDS in Manipur. Dr Kokil of Microbiology Department, JNIMS also attended the convention as a resource person. Towards the end of the convention, MLA Doukhomang presented an incentive cash reward of Rs 5,000 to Pradipkumar.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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