Chandigarh State AIDS Control Society observes World AIDS Day

The Fact News Service
Chandigarh, December 1

Every year, on 1st December, the world commemorates World AIDS Day. People around the world unite to show support for people living with and affected by HIV and to remember those who lost their lives to AIDSThe theme for this year’s World AIDS Day is “End inequalities, End AIDS, End pandemics.

Economic, social, cultural and legal inequalities must be ended as a matter of urgency if we are to end AIDS by 2030. To observe World AIDS Day, Chandigarh State AIDS Control Society organized a Cyclothone (By-cycle Rally) today from Sukhna Lake to Lake in Sector 42, Chandigarh. The rally was flagged off by Sh. Yashpal Garg, Secretary Health wherein more than 250 Cyclists from the city participated. The participants were from all walks of life including women and children. The youngest Cyclist was 13 years old and the oldest was 66 years.

General quiz was organized at the starting point and also at the end point for generating mass awareness about HIV/AIDS in which youth from schools, colleges participated. Prizes were also distributed. Mobile ICTC van for providing HIV and syphilis screening facilities was also stationed at both the venues and participants were motivated to get themselves tested.

Sandeep Mittal Deputy Director (TI) CSACS participated in the webinars organized by Pushpa Gujral Science City Kapurthala and Centre for Social Work PU to sensitize students on HIV/AIDS. Dr. Amandeep Kang, Project Director, Chandigarh SACS delivered a talk on HIV/AIDS over Chandigarh Doordarshan organized to observe World AIDS Day. Besides this, several events were also organized by partner NGOs of Chandigarh SACS and Red Ribbon Clubs which included health and awareness camps, candle light march, street plays, HIV testing etc. for generating mass awareness.

Chandigarh has already achieved zero HIV transmission among parent to child transmission of HIV. Further the HIV prevalence among pregnant mother is only 0.05% in Chandigarh. Overall, the adult (15-49 years) HIV prevalence in Chandigarh is 0.17% while the same for India is 0.22%. Efforts are being made to further reduce the prevalence and end HIV as public health threat by 2030.

Chandigarh SACS is providing HIV preventive services through partner NGOs to high-risk groups (HRGs) of Female Sex Workers (FSWs), Men having Sex with Men (MSM), Injecting Drug Users (IDUs) and Transgender (TGs). These high-risk groups are tested for HIV twice a year and linked with ART centre if found positive. Further Regular Medical Check-up and counselling services are also being provided every quarter for early detection of STIs and treatment. Counselling services are being provided as per need of HRG community.

Community based HIV screening services are also being provided for difficult to reach population by partner NGOs. Also, there are 26 ICTC centres and 1 mobile ICTC van located in all hospitals and major dispensaries to provide HIV and syphilis testing facility.

Partner NGOs have also enrolled about 550 IDUs on Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST) programme who are being provided this therapy on directly observed basis. A total of about 45% IDUs who have been identified by the NGOs are linked with OST against the target of at least 20% by NACO.

Chandigarh SACS has also rolled out programme called “Netreach” whose major objective is to identify HRGs soliciting sex and drugs in virtual space and link them with the ICTCs (Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres). It is ensured that everyone who has been detected to have HIV are linked with ART centre where free antiretroviral drugs are provided. Besides medicines, the ART centres also provide counselling services, viral load testing, CD-4 testing services, management of Opportunistic Infections, tracking clients who are lost to follow up (LFU).