Various Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) join hands to organise awareness campaigns in southern state of Tamil Nadu on the eve of World AIDS Day.
CHENNAI, TAMIL NADU, INDIA (NOVEMBER 30, 2013) (ANI) - Various Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) in southern state of Tamil Nadu came together to organise awareness campaign on the eve of World AIDS Day on Saturday (November 30).
The campaign, based on the theme "Getting to zero" was held in southern Chennai city, with an aim to raise awareness about the epidemic, honour those who have died and mobilise actions to end the AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) epidemic.
Organiser of the campaign, Hariharan, said they wish to bring an end to the sufferings of the HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) infected people through this campaign.
"We are expecting from this event, students will stop discriminating, isolating, stigmatising people with HIV. They'll accept as they are. And our aim is to getting to zero. Zero HIV infections by 2015," he said.
According to the latest estimates by India's National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), the world's second most populous country with over 1.2 billion people has shown an overall reduction of 57 percent in the annual new HIV infections.
A pioneer from an NGO and an HIV positive, Bagyalakshmi, stated the steps being taken to achieve zero HIV infections.
"There have been a lot of changes in the society nowadays. There is a lot of awareness among the masses about HIV and AIDS. At college level, students are made aware about this issue and serious attempts are being made about achieving zero stigmas, zero death and zero results by the year 2015," she said.
World AIDS Day 2013 is about "Getting to Zero", which means Zero New HIV Infections, Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS related Deaths till 2015.
This theme is likely to spark high impact events, varying from small scale community vigils to nationwide events, using the universally recognised shape of zeros and the power of light to get life and death issues the attention they deserve.
About 100 college students in Chennai participated in the awareness campaign. Games like drawing zero, writing zero were also conducted to seek more participation.
Along with them, 15 bikers from Chennai-based group called 'Metalmen' also participated in the campaign to raise awareness through their bike rally.
"Today we are spreading about zero AIDS campaign which is (that) by 2015, there should be no HIV affected in Tamil Nadu and for that we are spreading this news. And we would like to be an instrument to the society to bring a good change," said founder of Metalmen, Vinay.
In the early 2000s, India was on the verge of becoming a hotbed for HIV/AIDS with several studies suggesting that the country was poised to overtake sub-Saharan Africa as the global epicentre of the disease with rising numbers of fresh infections.
But timely interventions by non-governmental organisations, global funding agencies and the government helped India arrest the free fall and now the country is often cited as one of the success stories in the fight against AIDS.
However, the concentration of HIV among high risk groups, including MSMs (Men having Sex with Men), sex workers, transgender, truck drivers, and injecting drug users remains a problem.
The estimated number of people living with HIV in India has decreased from 2.41 million in 2000 to 2.09 million in 2011, according to NACO report for 2012-13.