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India: largest-ever gathering of people living with HIV

02 January 2008

Данная информация на русском языке отсутствует.
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Over 7,000 people living with HIV came
together in Shilparamam-Hyderabad.
Photo credits: UNAIDS

India hosted its largest ever gathering of people living with HIV in December 2007. Over 7,000 people living with HIV came together in Shilparamam-Hyderabad on 7 December for a special event organized by the Andhra Pradesh State AIDS Control Society (APSACS) with the support of UNAIDS and several other partners. As part of the State’s “Be Bold” campaign, a behaviour change communication initiative, the 2007 convention beat the record crowd of 3,800 people living with HIV at the same venue in December 2006.

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Union Minister for Labour and Convenor
of the Parliamentary Forum on AIDS,
Oscar Fernandez, restating commitment to
the 2006 'Hyderabad Declaration'.
Photo credits: UNAIDS

The event brought together a variety of stakeholders to reiterate commitment to reducing stigma, increasing access to services for people living with HIV and to creating an enabling environment for preventing the spread of HIV. It was also an opportunity to restate commitment to the “Hyderabad Declaration”, which was originally signed at the 2006 event.

“It was festive time for people living with HIV. Women participated in the Rangoli competition, children participated in the painting competition and games organized specially for them. Adults also listened to lectures on treatment adherence and precautions against opportunistic infections,” said G. Asok Kumar, Project Director at on of the APSACS. “Such a huge gathering of people living with HIV helped considerably reduce stigma,” he added.

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Oscar Fernandez meeting with a number of
the convention participants.
Photo credits: UNAIDS

The event was inaugurated by Oscar Fernandez, the Union Minister for Labour and Convener of the Parliamentary Forum on AIDS (PFA), J.D. Seelam, Co-Convener PFA,   Dr Sailajanath, Convener and Shri B. Kamalaker Rao, Co-Convener of Andhra Pradesh Legislators Forum on AIDS among many other Government officials.

The convention reflected on the progress that has been made since the last meeting in 2006. According to State figures, in just a year, the number of people receiving antiretroviral therapy increased from just 2,200 in 2006 to 25,000 in December 2007. The number of people living with HIV accessing health care services has also gone up phenomenally. In the last year more than 600,000 pregnant mothers had an HIV test. The overall number of HIV tests carried out in the state in the last 11 months reached1.5 million, up from 1.3 million tests registered during the whole period from 2000 to 2006.