GUWAHATI, Dec 1 - World AIDS Day was observed across the State along with the rest of the country today. Various organisations observed the day, advocating the need for greater awareness, especially among the youths.
In Guwahati, the day was observed centrally by the Assam State AIDS Control Society (ASACS) at the Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra.
Speaking at the State-level function, Project Director ASACS, Dhiraj Choudhury said, �World AIDS Day gives an opportunity to people all over the globe to unite in the fight against HIV and extend our support for the people living with HIV.�
The theme for the year is �Getting to Zero � Zero New HIV Infections, Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS-related Deaths�.
Writer Dr Akashitora said, �Life is a celebration, but one has to be aware about the commas, colons, semi-colons and even full stops. HIV/AIDS is such a menace that if it is transmitted into a human body, it would halt the progress of the individual and humanity at large. A person can have complete freedom, but he or she has to have absolute control over his life.�
She also advocated installation of condom vending machines at strategic locations across the State, which is very much common in European countries. Dr Akashitora further added, �All awareness generating agencies must be geared up to such an extent that our region becomes the first HIV-free zone in the country.�
Veteran actress Chetana Das, in her speech, said, �Life is precious and thus one should not hide his or her illness, especially if it is caused by HIV virus. People, especially those who indulge in high risk behaviour, must go for HIV/AIDS testing.� The actress also stressed the need for voluntary blood donation.
Noted blood transfusion expert Dr DN Sarma, who was also present on the occasion, spoke at length about the HIV/AIDS menace. Drugs Controller Gajen Talukdar delivered a talk on HIV/AIDS prevalence in the State. ASACS Joint Director (IEC), Bonti Saikia was also present on the occasion and delivered the vote of thanks.
The State-level function was preceded by a rally comprising representatives from NGOs, civil societies, Red Ribbon clubs from various colleges, etc. The rally was flagged off by internationally acclaimed body-building champion Mahadeb Deka.
Some best performing service centres were also awarded Rs 5 lakh each, in the event.
Our Jalukbari correspondent adds: World AIDS Day was observed at Hayat Hospital with a daylong programme today.
The programme started with a colourful rally taken out by the hospital staff, local residents and students of the Hayat Institute of Nursing Education. The rally was flagged off by noted Assamese actor Dinesh Das.
Students of the Hayat Institute of Nursing Education, who took part in the rally in traditional dresses and with placards in hand, distributed leaflets on AIDS awareness.
The rally was followed by an awareness meeting held in the hospital auditorium. The meeting was attended by noted social worker and writer Col Monoranjan Goswami (retd) and Dinesh Das.
Dr Anjan Kr Saikia, executive director Hayat Hospital and Dr Dabu Patowari, consultant general medicine, Hayat Hospital, delivered awareness lectures. Both the speakers stressed prevention and awareness among the people to tackle the dreaded AIDS.