Aiming at zero new infections and AIDS-related deaths, various non-governmental organisations in the city conducted awareness programmes on Saturday to observe World AIDS Day that falls on Sunday.
While several organisations held rallies and meetings emphasising the need to not discriminate against those living with HIV/AIDS, some NGOs like Indian Community Welfare Organisation (ICWO) organised games to create awareness among students, at Alsa Mall in Egmore.
The contests were centred on the theme, ‘Getting to Zero.’ Those who completed writing or drawing as many zeroes in as little time as possible were given prizes. About 300 college students took oath on zero discrimination at the event inaugurated by P. Kuganantham, city health officer, Chennai Corporation.
Posters on preventing AIDS-related deaths were also released at a programme jointly organised by Rotary International District 3230 and Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society. ICWO secretary A.J. Hariharan said the organisation would carry forward the campaign for four years to educate people about protecting themselves against HIV/AIDS.
On Saturday morning, volunteers from Standard Chartered Bank and nearly 200 school students and NCC cadets gathered at Marina beach for a rally in solidarity with those affected by HIV/AIDS.
S. Sreeram, manager (Tamil Nadu and Puducherry), Indian Development Foundation, which organised a rally along with Gremaltes Hospital, said the rally was flagged off by Sebastian Xavier, sports officer, Southern Railway, and covered nearly 2 km from Light House to Labour Statue.
Participants carried placards and raised slogans on symptoms of HIV/AIDS, need for early intervention and significance of providing care to affected persons. “We are also planning to conduct an awareness exhibition on HIV/AIDS at Chennai Central suburban railway station on Sunday,” said Mr. Sreeram.
On Sunday, employees of Chennai Corporation AIDS Prevention & Control Society (CAPACS) will take out a rally from their Mylapore office to spread awareness on UNAIDS’ vision of zero infections.