GUWAHATI, Dec 1 - Along with the rest of the world, the Assam State AIDS Control Society (ASACS) too observed World AIDS Day today at the Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra, Panjabari.
The daylong event began with a rally that was flagged off by Mount Everest climber Henry David Teron on the ASACS premises, which culminated at Kalakshetra.
Welcoming the huge gathering at Kalakshetra, ASACS Project Director Manvendra Pratap Singh, said, �There is no contradiction of the fact that HIV/AIDS menace has been affecting and infecting millions across the globe. If we go by the UN AIDS report, at the end of 2015, there are 36.7 million people living with HIV around the globe and 1.1 million people died of AIDS-related illness during 2015.� Referring to this year�s theme � Hands up for # HIV Prevention � Singh said, �We should raise our hands to raise issues related to HIV/AIDS. In this age of social media revolution, we can start talking about HIV/AIDS openly and let us try to spread ample awareness and end discrimination against people living with HIV.�
Singh also spoke on the merits of the e-blood banking system, which was formally inaugurated by Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Speaking on the occasion as the chief guest, Sarma said, �HIV/AIDS awareness must be taken to the semi-urban and slum areas where the awareness level is comparatively low. All teenagers should know about HIV/AIDS.�
He also laid stress on �mouth to mouth� publicity, which is more powerful than any other medium of communication. He proposed that from next onwards World AIDS Day should be observed in all colleges of Assam and open discussions about HIV prevention may be initiated with the help of resource persons selected from the teaching staff of colleges. Sarma said two more HIV/AIDS orphanages may be established in Silchar and Dibrugarh for the children of PLHIVs.
On introduction of the e-blood banking system, the Minister lauded the efforts of ASACS, saying that this will be helpful in tracking professional blood donors. He stressed that buying NAAT machines and implementing NAAT testing will involve huge costs and moreover it will not cover the entire State. �Therefore, if we increase blood donation and have a pool of healthy donors, then the possibility of getting infected blood will be reduced. Therefore, the Voluntary Blood Donation Programme will be strengthened to fight the menace of infection through blood transfusion.� He also outlined the need for donor appreciation and creation of a donor-friendly environment in the State.
Samir Sinha, Commissioner & Secretary to the Govt of Assam, Department of Health & FW Department said, �e-blood banking is a noble step taken by ASACS and this step will bring synergy amongst all health institutions of the State.� He also outlined the achievements of ASACS in the last few months
Deputy General Manager of Luminous Infoways Pvt Ltd, Tapan Kumar Bhol, who developed the e-blood banking software, gave a technical overview of e-blood banking system.
Several best performing ASACS officials who are working in the periphery were felicitated at the function. Three best performing Red Ribbon Clubs were awarded in the event. Ex-gratia of Rs 1 lakh was given to 41 widows of People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV).
UNESCO Association, Guwahati observed the Day at the District Library here. A meeting was also organised on the occasion.