Itanagar: The frontier state of Arunachal Pradesh also on Wednesday joined the rest of the globe in celebrating World AIDS Day, the day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who have died of the disease.
The theme of the celebrations this year was “End Inequalities. End AIDS. End Pandemics”.
In the state capital, an awareness ride was taken out from the Akashdeep Complex to Lekhi by several Bullet Riders Clubs including the Royal Arunachal Riders, Arunachal Bullet Club, Piranha Gliders, Gurkha Riders, Decant Souls and Tani Riders to mark the day.
MLA and adviser to the education minister Kento Rina flagged off the awareness rides and asked everyone to contribute to creating awareness about HIV/AIDS.
“As there is no cure and no vaccine against HIV, awareness is the only medicine and vaccine against HIV,” he said.
Attending the programme as chief guest at Arunodaya University in Lekhi, director of health services M Lego stressed on the importance of good mental health to have a healthy body.
“The menace of HIV/AIDS can be prevented and controlled only if we have proper knowledge,” he said.
Appreciating the student participants and Bullet riders who turned up in large numbers, he asked them all to disseminate information about HIV/AIDS to everyone so that we remain safe from HIV.
APSACS project director Dr Riken Rina explained the importance of World AIDS Day and said the virus has been in existence for the last many years.
“But till today there is no cure for HIV and the human race is yet to develop a vaccine against HIV. The only answer against HIV is your knowledge and awareness,” he said.
He stressed the importance of ‘ABCD’ to prevent and control HIV where ‘A’ stands for ‘Abstinence’ ‘B’ for ‘Be faithful to your sexual partner’, ‘C’ for ‘Consistent condom use’ and ‘D’ for ‘Don’t do drugs’.
Highlighting the menace of drug abuse and the correlation between drugs and HIV, Dr Rina said Arunachal Pradesh stands first in heroin drug abuse and third in alcohol consumption, inhalants and ganja abuse in India.
Arunodaya University vice-chancellor V N Sharma asked the students to instil a sense of responsibility towards themselves, their peers, their parents and to society and the nation. He also said that people should stay away from addictive substances such as tobacco, gutkha and cigarettes which ruin their lives.
The elimination of diseases like HIV needs equal attention from all sectors of society, he said.
Associate Professor and one of the chiefs of the Bullet riders, Tumbom Lily Jamoh, said the people living with HIV/AIDS are fighting and struggling on many fronts due to the lack of awareness, empathy and sensitivity among the people.
She said the riders have taken more than 80 awareness rides for the social cause and will continue to do so in the future also.
Jamoh also explained this year’s World AIDS Day theme through a self-composed Hindi poem, stressing the need for doing away with the inequalities in order to end AIDS and the pandemic.
APSACS (BSD) deputy director A Borang appreciated the role of the Bullet Riders in creating awareness about HIV in the state. He also appreciated the role of students, NSS, colleges and universities in the HIV awareness program in the state.
Arunachal Network of Positive People president, Yumrin Nokpa said the community has been working since 2010 for creating awareness about HIV. He said the objective of the ArNP+ is to ensure that no people suffer their fate in Arunachal Pradesh.
Nokpa also appreciated APSACS for extending every possible help to the people living with HIV in the state.
The programme was organised by APSACS in collaboration with the Arunodaya University.
The NSS unit of Dera Natung Government College also observed the day at the college campus here.
A total of 15 NSS volunteers and 60 students including some NCC cadets of the college participated in the event which was graced by principal M Q Khan and Zoology head of department J P Nanda as the resource persons.
The event started off with a welcome song presented by Tamang Tok, games and sports in charge of NSS unit DNGC, followed by a welcome speech by programme officer Botem Moyong. The event concluded with a vote of thanks proposed by Amor Mingki, IPR secretary of the NSS unit.