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IRCS Consortium for HIV Program
1th September 2007

The members of the Red Cross HIV/ AIDS consortium in India met again after February 6th, 2007 meeting to review the achievements made during the period and discuss plans for 2007-2008, with the aim of strengthening and expanding the existing programme. The members who participated were from IFRC and National Red Cross Societies i.e. American, British, Danish, Canadian, German, Spanish, Swedish and Italian Red Cross as special invitee.

Prof (Dr) S.P. Agarwal, Secretary General, IRCS informed that "the Indian Red Cross Society is running Youth Peer Education Program (YPEP) in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. It also has care and support program in Tamil Nadu in the form of day care centre for the children of HIV positive parents and nutritional and hygienic support for HIV positive patients in Thambaram Hospital at Chennai one of the largest hospital for HIV patients". He further said that we all should work together to achieve the Global Alliance and Millennium Development Goals.

The partners were informed about the progress made in HIV/AIDS programme in all the States where it is operational. They were also communicated that the Italian Red Cross has deputed its delegate for the meeting and talks with them are in advanced stages after which the activities shall be started in new States. The IRCS presentation also mentioned about the expansion of the program in new States i.e. Punjab, Goa, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

Dr. B.B. Rewari , National Program Officer, National AIDS Control Organization in his presentation informed that out of total estimated HIV infections, about 57% are in rural areas. About 40% of the cases are found in the youth in the age group of 15-35 years. He further said that due to lack of logistics, NACO could not initiate a program in nutrition support and this is the area where Red Cross can spread as it is undoubtedly performing so well at the Tambaram Hospital by providing nutritional support to the people living with HIV/AIDS.

Mr. Al Panico, Head of the Regional Delegation of the IFRC appreciated Indian Red Cross Society for coming up with the creative solutions in dealing with the HIV/AIDS . He further said that IRCS has a long term vision and this needs a long term support, which all the Consortium members should understand and extend.

Dr. Mukesh Kapila, Special Representative to the Secretary General, IFRC for HIV/AIDS stated that since the epidemic began, some 65 million people have been infected. AIDS has shaken the very foundation of the society. He said that to deliver the greatest impact for vulnerable people, a Global Red Cross and Red Crescent HIV and AIDS Alliance has been launched. This will help to advocate for and enable universal access to prevention, care, treatment and support, and will result in atleast doubling of direct participants and beneficiaries in Red Cross Red Crescent HIV and AIDS initiatives in low and middle income groups.

The partners expressed their satisfaction on the progress made and suggested that efforts should continue in scaling up the program to achieve greater results.

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