Heal the world
1 December marks the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day
In 1994, Tom Hanks received the Academy Award for Best Actor for playing Andrew Beckett in Philadelphia. Almost two decades later, Matthew McConaughey won the same award for his role in Dallas Buyers Club. The common thread between both these films: The protagonist suffers from AIDS and both films underline the debilitating impact of the pandemic. First December marks the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day and the drive to mitigate it is now stronger than ever. There are about 2.1 million people in India affected by HIV. In 2017, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare announced that it aimed to end AIDS by 2030. To raise awareness, Naz Foundation, an NGO in Delhi that focuses on HIV/AIDS rights, will hold a session on HIV prevention and care on 1 December at their East of Kailash centre from 3-4pm. “Anyone is welcome to attend this," says James Veliath, a counsellor at Naz.
The AIDS Health Foundation, India Care, on the other hand, is focusing on the North-East. “The latest National AIDS Control Organization report shows that Mizoram is the most affected state, with 2.4% HIV prevalence rate. So we are holding a ‘Know Your Status’ programme in Aizawl," says V. Sam Prasad, AHF’s country programme manager. There will be free on-site HIV testing, an awareness rally, and distribution of free condoms.—Radhika Iyengar