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Red Cross Symposium on AIDS Day Eve
November 30th, 2007

The National Headquarters of Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) organized a symposium on the eve of the World AIDS Day on the theme 'Leadership' under the slogan Stop AIDS, Keep the Promise. The officials and staff of IRCS, IFRC and PNS demonstrated their solidarity for the cause on World AIDS Day by wearing the red ribbon.

The Chief Guest of the occasion, Dr. N.K. Ganguly, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research said that, the Prime Minister of India should be recommended that IRCS should be strengthened and be given more opportunities so that it can help in containing the pandemic at the National level.

Prof. (Dr) S.P. Agarwal, Secretary General, IRCS stated that HIV/AIDS pandemic is a developmental issue and the leaders at all levels should play a significant role in containing the pandemic. He informed that the IRCS HIV-Youth Peer Education Programme is being currently implemented in 600 institutions in the 15 programme Districts of five States i.e. Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra. The programme targets school and college students through the Junior and Youth Red Cross volunteers in selected institutions and focuses on awareness related to HIV and other health issues through peer led education with life skills at its base. IRCS also has a component of Care and Support Programme i.e. 3S Link Project at Thambaram Hospital in Tamil Nadu. The project focuses on need
based counseling including nutritional and adherence counseling to the in-patients and their families. Last year 7200 patients were provided with supplementary nutrition and 4800 patients were given hygiene kits. The Community Care Centre in the Dharmapuri District of Tamil Nadu contributes towards the qualitative improvement of the life of about 20 infected and affected children and their families by providing crèche facility for the children, regular health check up, nutritional support and non- formal education.

The day became special with the presence of Mr. Hari Shankar, an HIV+ and Peer Educator of Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP). The society is undertaking advocacy, data collection and counselling of AIDS victims. He also narrated the kind of discrimination positive people undergo in hospitals, more so when they have to undergo surgery. He also informed that the members of DNP+ have pledged that 'We will not give HIV/AIDS to others but would fight against stigma and discrimination'.
The IRCS branches at the State, District and Sub-District level will be observing the World AIDS Day by hosting a series of activities like organizing rallies, public meetings, get together of peer together with people living with HIV/AIDS, street plays and quiz competition.

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