Joining people all over the globe, World Aids Day was today observed in the State to show support for people living with and affected by HIV and to remember those who lost their lives to AIDS.
The theme of the observation was ‘Global Solidarity and Shared Responsibility’.
The programme organised by the Meghalaya AIDS Control Society (MACS) in collaboration with the Meghalaya State Legal Services Authority was held at U Soso Tham Auditorium, Shillong.
Health Commissioner and Secretary, Sampath Kumar who attended the programme as the chief guest informed that Meghalaya ranks 5th in the country in terms of prevalence of HIV cases and 2nd in the highest number of syphilis cases among pregnant women.
Kumar said concerted efforts are required in creating awareness on preventive measures to address these health issues. Furthermore, he cited that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought into focus the importance of healthcare and the need to strengthen the health system.
Praising the role of NACO and MACS for their continued fight to educate the masses on HIV and end stigmatization, he stressed on the importance of testing and adherence to treatment.
N. A. Khan, District and Sessions Judge and Member Secretary of the Meghalaya State Legal Services Authority spoke at length above the legal framework available to protect the rights of those living with HIV/AIDS.
Others who spoke were, F. Mylliemngap, Peer Educator who shared about discriminations faced and challenges overcome as a peer educator belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community and Dr. R. Allya, Project Director, Meghalaya AIDS Control Society, Shillong who delivered the welcome address.
To mark the occasion, freestyle for 15, an Instagram sports event contest and theme song on HIV/AIDS “Stand Up”, composed and arranged by renowned artist of the State, Lamphang Syiemlieh were launched on the day.
Prizes were also distributed to the winners of the ‘Promote HIV Testing’ contest.
In West Khasi Hills, World Aids Day was observed at Nongstoiñ under the Theme “Ending the HIV/AIDS”.
H. Suting, BEE Nongstoiñ, CHC urged upon the public not to show stigma and discrimination to those living with AIDS, so that they are not left behind as India aims to end AIDS by the year 2030.