Staff Correspondent

BIJAPUR: “Help us remain in the mainstream of society. We do not need just medical aid but also love and affection. Let us be one among you.” This was the message that was sent by those living with HIV positive to mainstream society at a function in Mudhol of Bagalkot district on Tuesday to launch a month-long campaign aimed at promoting better access to anti-HIV/AIDS treatment and ensuring socio-economic relief for affected people.

Many of those living with HIV positive, who spoke on the occasion, said if the social stigma attached to those living with disease is removed, a major portion of their sufferings would end. Rather than sympathy, they need equal opportunities in society.

The campaign in the district is being carried out by Jeevanajyothi, a network formed by HIV positive people for their betterment. The network having a membership of 3,160 affected people is affiliated to Karnataka Network for People of HIV positive that works under the Indian Network for People of HIV positive headquartered in Chennai. Bagalkot is the one among 17 districts with a high level of HIV positive cases.

District Health Officer S.N. Pujari stressed on better private-public partnership and more meaningful cooperation between non-governmental organisations and the Health Department. Community organisations and corporate bodies should join hands to scale up the campaign against HIV and AIDS, he said.

Shubamangala, governing body member of Karnataka Network for People of HIV positive, and K.T. Salwar, spoke.