KOLLAM: The Red Ribbon Express, spreading awareness of HIV/AIDS control and prevention as part of a year-long campaign across the country, was accorded a rousing reception on Thursday morning at the Karunagapally railway station, its last halt in Kerala.
The train will be stationed on platform number 3 on Friday too.
Hundreds of persons from all walks of life from Karunagapally and peripheral areas arrived at the railway station to receive the train and understand the message it brings.
The majority among them were youngsters, the main target group of the train.
Many people had to stand in queue for at least an hour to gain entry into the 10-coach train.
Inside, the volunteers enlightened the visitors on HIV/AIDS through a stream of charts and audiovisuals. The programme enabled the visitors to shed many of their misconceptions about HIV/AIDS. Inaugurating the exhibition, district panchayat president, K. Somaprasad said that it was a big relief to note that the discrimination against people living with AIDS had waned a lot compared to the situation a few years ago.
This could be achieved from a constant awareness campaign. More changes in attitudes were needed. Elimination of the misconceptions about the disease was imperative. While Kerala was on the top as a model in many respects, the State had to achieve that position in AIDS awareness too.
Mr. Somaprasad said that only through proper awareness could the spread of AIDS be prevented.
Bindu Sajeev, president of the Karunagapally Block Panchayat, presided.
T.V. Velayudhan, additional project coordinator of the train's Kerala campaign, delivered the keynote address at the function.
District Medical Officer K.I. George welcomed the gathering.