Rally organised in Siliguri to mark World AIDS Day

Siliguri (West Bengal) [India] Dec 1 (ANI): A street rally was organised in West Bengal's Siliguri on the occasion of World AIDS Day on Sunday.

This year the theme for World AIDS Day 2019 is 'Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Community by Community'. The day, observed on December 1 every year, is dedicated to raising awareness about HIV-AIDS.

On the occasion, Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of United Nations tweeted, "A record 38 million people live with HIV- but resources for the response declined by USD1 billion last year. On #WorldAIDSDay let's reaffirm our commitment to ending this epidemic by 2030 - scaling up access to health services, fighting stigma & ensuring people enjoy their rights".

The West Bengal Health Department has also introduced a new initiative to check the status of HIV patients with their 'Know your HIV status'. It advises people to be smart and get tested.

Numerous members of 'Higher HIV risk groups' like sex workers, transgender community and LGBTS (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) took part in the rally.

Many voluntary and non-governmental organisations also were associated with the programme to inculcate the message of HIV infection among the general public. The participants also walked with placards and festoons through the streets and displayed and portrayed the various precautions needed to avoid the most pandemic disease of the current world.

"The numbers of the HIV/AIDS patients are decreasing, but the number of screening is increasing which is very good for the society", said Dr Tulsi Pramanik, health official, Darjeeling, and head of the rally to ANI.

Speaking to ANI, Tarun Maity, Secretary, West Bengal Voluntary Health Organisation (WBVHO) said, "we have brought out a rally to aware the common people about HIV/AIDS in Siliguri. According to the guidelines of the National Aids Control Organisation (NACO), we have started a free service as 'Know your HIV status' which will give a chance to test their blood". (ANI)