Transgenders, MSM group and people living with AIDS infected persons were among the participants at the rally and public meeting organised in the city to mark the World AIDS Day on Thursday.
Organised by the district health authorities in association with AIDS Prevention Control Unit at the General Hospital, the rally was flagged off by the chief of NCC 21 Battalion Kerala, Lt. Col. Jose. Earlier, the District Medical Officer, R. Sudhakaran, tied the red ribbon to the District Collector P. I. Sheikh Pareeth at his camp office.
Discrimination against people with HIV and their social ostracism is the main reason that stigma against HIV continues in the society, said Excise Minister K. Babu, inaugurating the public meeting held at the Maharaja's College. Mayor Tony Chammany spoke and Hibi Eden, MLA, presided over the function. Many organisations including Y's Men's Club, Malarvadi Arts Club, Malayalam cine artists and representatives of various projects taken up as part of AIDS prevention took part in the rally and public meeting.
Many HIV patients spoke about their experiences on the day that has a global theme of ‘Getting to Zero: Zero infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS related deaths'. The year had 1,836 people testing positive for HIV in the State where 730 are women and 1,106 are men. In the district alone there were 124 new cases during the year.