World AIDS Day observed across Nagaland

Staff Reporters DIMAPUR, DEC 1 (NPN) | Publish Date: 12/1/2018 12:09:29 PM IST

Ignorance of HIV status has accounted for 1588 new HIV infections in Nagaland last year. There are around 60 to 90 new HIV cases reported in Dimapur every month and 91 percent of HIV transmission in the state is through unprotected sex.

Senior medical consultant of Christian Institute of Health Sciences and Research (CIHSR), Dr Tokugha Yepthomi pointed this out in his address as guest speaker on the 30th commemoration of World Aids Day held at District Hospital Dimapur Chapel Hall on Saturday. He added that 21,000 people diagnosed with HIV in a state with a population of around 20 lakhs shows that awareness is still a problem. 

The program at District Hospital Dimapur was organized by District Aids Prevention and Control Unit (DAPCU) in collaboration with district level partners and NGOs and supported by the Nagaland State AIDS Control Society, Kohima.

Urging people to get tested, Yepthomi said, “You cannot rely on symptoms to know you have HIV. The only way to know is by getting tested.” 

Dr Yepthomi also touched upon a milestone observation by UNAIDS in the fight against HIV&AIDS termed “U is equal to U” or “Undetectable is equal to Untransmitable” in which HIV patients who have undergone Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) and reduced their viral load count to an untraceable level have proven that they do not transmit the virus to HIV negative partners even if they engage in unprotected sex. ‘Undetectable is equal to Untransmitable’ was unequivocally announced at the 9th International AIDS Society Conferences held in Paris in August, 2017. 

Programme Officer of NETSU, Anna Hairang who spoke on the theme “Know your status” revealed that 28.9 million have died of AIDS ever since it was detected in 1981 and 36.9 million people are living with HIV today. HIV was first detected in India in 1986 and despite several campaigns and programs, people continue to be infected with HIV, she added.

Commitment and solidarity speeches of 5 minutes each were also made by a representative of Lions Club of Dimapur Blue Vanda; secretary of Jain School, Ajay Sethi, a representative of Muslim Council of Dimapur; and the district Chief Medical Officer, Vikato Kinimi. 

The other highlights of the program were: invocation by chaplain of DHD, Rev. Yhunlo Thong; welcome address by DPO, DAPCU, Mecievinuo; a song by Ajung; one minute silent prayer for people who have died of AIDS; concern expressed by a representative of People Living With HIV (PLHIV) community; vote of thanks by Aleno Delie and benediction by Rev. Yhunlo Thong.  The program was chaired by Albert and Nilli Awomi.

CAD Foundation observes World AIDS Day
Along with the rest of the country, Community Awareness & Development (CAD) Foundation in collaboration with Central Jail Prison Authority observed World Aids Day on Saturday, at the Central Jail Premises, Dimapur. 
The day was observed with the 153 jail inmates under the theme “Know your status”.
Highlighting the significance of the event, CAD program coordinator, Deepika said that Prison HIV Intervention CAD foundation started working with the inmates from 2016, and over the years 202 inmates have been tested. Focussing on the theme she said that the inmates who have been tested know the status of their health while 30% still remain ignorant about if they are infected. She encouraged the inmates, jailors and staff to come forward and learn about their health. She also thanked the inmates for their cooperation and the authority for their support. 
A motivational speech was delivered by Lily, where she expounded on the Bible verse Matthew 7:7. She encouraged the gathering saying that God shows the way, if people ask, seek and knock at His door. She also encouraged those infected to not be discouraged or disheartened, but believe in the Lord and seek Him to find peace and comfort. 
At the program, a welcome address was delivered by assistant jailor Zubemo, special songs were presented by the inmates, invocation prayer was offered by missionary & counsellor sponsored by Dimapur Ao Baptist Arogo (DABA) women ministry, Toshi Ozuküm. 
A special highlight of the day was a hilarious comedy drama presented by the inmates on AIDS awareness which had the gathering in stitches. Later, vote of thanks was delivered by Pezaneilhou.
More World AIDS Day reports
Longleng: World AIDS Day was commemorated by District Health Society (DHS) Longleng at the CMO’s conference hall, sponsored by NSACS and Ahana under the theme, “Know your status” on December 1.
A press release from CMO office Longleng, district media officer, Roseline stated that deputy chief medical officer (DCMO), Dr. Thungbemo Patton in his keynote address gave a brief talk on the history of AIDS and how it has affected the lives of millions of people. Dr Thungbemo urged the attendees to educate children and the community by organising workshops and sensitization programs.
Shahshing Phom (ORW), from Yingli Mission Society (YMS) Longleng, spoke on the theme, where he said that 77 million people were affected by AIDS and 35 million people have succumbed to AIDS related disease. He also said that reason why people don’t come forward to get tested or to avail the ART medicines was the fear of stigmatization by society.
Dr. Satuo Mezhu also gave a short talk on healthy nutrition and appealed to the attendees to persuade people to come forward and not to shy away from getting treated.
The program was chaired by Henmei district community mobiliser, invocation prayer was offered by Nunglau Phom and vote of thanks was delivered by Viroli Sangtam DPM. Staff of CMO office, district hospital, Yingli Mission Society, and OST counsellor, ICTC attended the program.
Phek: Phek district observed World AIDS Day at Town Council Hall, Phek on December 1. 
A press release from district media officer, Phek, Kutolu Nakro stated that guest speaker Neilezo Tep SDO (Civil) Phek, in his address stated that World AIDS Day is an international day dedicated to raising awareness about AIDS. He also said that there was nothing to be ashamed or afraid about if one is infected with the HIV virus.
He also highlighted that the death rate of HIV has come down to 1 million as reported in 2017 because of ART and worldwide awareness.
Dr. Limatoshi Imchen district epidemiologist, who also spoke in the program said that one could give advice to, and spread awareness among, the society at large. He dwelt on the importance of knowing the preventive measures of HIV/AIDS.
Under the title “positive voice” Mese Letro, president Network of Phek District People Living with HIV/AIDS gave a testimonial. He challenged the participants to not deny one’s status but accept it so that other patients can also live a healthy and normal life. 
The program was chaired by Kuduvo Kezo DPO DAPCU Phek, and a welcome address delivered by Thuputo, program manager Eureka Life Foundaion Phek. Invocation was offered by Neilonyiu, benediction by Kuriyilu Nyekha and vote of thanks by Vezotalu Shijoh senior PMDT DTC Phek.
The program was organized by DAPCU, AHANA & ELF Phek sponsored by Nagaland State AIDS Control Society and Project AHANA. It was attended by Phek Town Colony Youth president, chairman, NCC Govt. Higher Secondary School, religious leaders, NGOS etc. A free blood testing of HIV was also conducted after the program.
Baptist Theological College: Baptist Theological College (BTC) observed a World AIDS Day program, organized by Red Ribbon Club of the college on the theme “Know your status” on December 1. 
A press release from BTC media cell stated that, Dr. Thanghoi Lam, state program officer (NHM) Directorate of Health & Family Welfare was the resource person. He spoke on the present scenario of HIV in Nagaland, and also on ongoing and upcoming programs as well as about testing and care centres in the state. He stressed on the Health department’s need for support from the Church, RRCs, institutions & NGOs in fighting against HIV & AIDS. He encouraged the college community to get tested and learn about their HIV status and be agents of change.
A voluntary HIV test was conducted by the ICTC team, where 70 individuals volunteered for the test. A skit competition based on the theme “Agents of Change” was also witnessed.
The program was attended by a team from Integrated Counselling & Testing Centre (ICTC) Pfutsero & another from the Lightway Society, Pfutsero.
City College: City College of Arts & Commerce Dimapur conducted an AIDS awareness program on World AIDS Day, December 1, under the theme “Know your status” at the college premises.
A press release from City College of Arts & Commerce principal, N. Kumar, stated that academic dean, Kuzieding Lungalang was the resource person. Lungalang emphasised on the need to know the root cause of the deadly disease’s spread. He reminded the students that the state of Nagaland was the most infected in India. He also reminded the students about the importance of knowing one’s own status and making themselves and the society free from AIDS.
JN Aier College: Red Ribbon Club of J N Aier College on Saturday observed ‘World AIDS Day’ at the college auditorium.
A press release by the college stated that in a program, assistant professor (education department), Keleseno, spoke on “True Love Waits” while J N Aier College, vice principal, Kheka Lima, delivered a talk on the theme, “Know your status”.
Lima highlighted the recent status of HIV prevalence in Nagaland and also encouraged the students to be aware of their status. The program was chaired by RRC nodal officer, Khenili Kiho.

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