TAMIL NADU

AIDS patients celebrate Independence Day

Staff Reporter

NAGERCOIL: When the nation was celebrating the 58th Independence Day celebrations on August 15, People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA) in Kanyakumari district had one more reason to rejoice. James Memorial Charitable Trust at Colachel organised `Festival Freedom,' which was dedicated to patients afflicted with the disease.

The Independence Day programme was not only aimed to entertain and comfort patients living with HIV/AIDS but also to promote their self-reliance and freedom from stigma and discrimination.

About 100 PLHAs participated in the programme. It was overwhelming to see them actively participating in all the competitions and cultural programmes, putting aside their physical pain and mental agony.

They danced, clapped, sang and ran in to raptures. It was a scene of brotherhood in action. Their despair and loneliness took the backseat.

The children of the PLHA were given ample opportunities to exhibit their talents, abilities and express their patriotic zeal on the occasion.

The patriotic song for freedom fighting sung by a little girl suffering from the dreaded disease was moving, bringing tears to all.

The children who won many prizes and awards in various brain storming competitions held on the James Hospital premises.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Prem Kumar, the Managing Director of the hospital said that the care and support community centre for PLHA run by the James Hospital Memorial Charitable Trust, in collaboration with the Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society, had been identifying the destitute and others who live in the district with HIV/AIDS, and treated them at the hospital premises in Colachel free of cost. For the benefit of HIV/AIDS patients, vocational training programmes were being imparted.