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Expressing concern over high prevalence of HIV in Nagaland –– the third highest state in the country, the principal secretary health and family welfare (H&FW), I Himato Zhimomi, Tuesday termed as “unfortunate” that out of over 20,000 HIV positive cases, only 7,000 were availing the Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) and antiretroviral (ARV) drugs.
Speaking at the state consultation on HIV & AIDS (prevention and control) Act, 2017 for finalization of state specific rule, the principal secretary laid emphasis on the need for figuring out why the remaining people were not availing treatment. “If there is something lacking from the side of government please come forward today, it is the perfect time for you to point out what is lacking with NACO or NSACS so that we can ensure 100% voluntary compliance from the affected people.”
The programme was organised by Nagaland state AIDS control society (NSACS) in collaboration with NACO, FHI360 and KRIPA foundation was held at de Oriental Grand Hotel here on Tuesday.
Zhimomi also challenged the department to do something so people living with HIV&AIDS come forward and avail the treatment provided by the government.
Further, he advised the gathering to give proper guidance to the vulnerable age group and to ensure healthy society in the state.
Asserting that there should not be any stigma and discrimination in the society based on HIV status, the principal secretary appealed to the people living with HIV&AIDS to come forward and be equal partners in building the society.
Pointing out that more than 90% HIV transmission was through the sexual route, which was specific to Nagaland, he urged the department and stakeholders to ponder the best way to create awareness to prevent the disease from spreading.
Zhimomi stated that the workshop should come out with some positive measures on how to ensure a free HIV society in the next 10 years. He also urged other NGOs in the state to share the responsibility to be equal partners to create awareness.
Consultant (IEC & mainstreaming) NACO, Garima Sharma, in her presentation on the HIV (prevention & control) Act 2017, highlighted the spirit of the Act, chapter wise details and definitions, committee of experts and others.
Member secretary Nagaland state legal service authority, Mezivolu T. Therie, said that the programme has been organized bringing all the stakeholders together. It was with the aim of enabling all responsible to understand the importance of the Act and work more cohesively towards prevention and control of HIV&AIDS and protect the rights of the positive people. She said the phenomenal rise in drug trafficking and drug abuse amongst the youth and children has serious implications adversely affecting the health and economy of the society.
She assured that the Nagaland state legal services authority was committed to give its full support in prevention and control of HIV & AIDS and protect the rights of the victims. Therie also highlighted some of the activities carried by the legal services authority in the state.
In the technical session, various NGOs like Naga Mothers’ Association, Naga Students’ Federation, NNP+, N Naga Dao and various government departments including police, social welfare, law and justice, NACO and others shared inputs on the Act for finalization.