TAMIL NADU

Call to join crusade against AIDS

MARCHING WITH A MISSION: Students taking out a rally in Tirunelveli on Thursday. — Photo: A.Shaikmohideen  

Staff Reporter

TIRUNELVELI: Rallies, seminars, distribution of pamphlets and competitions for students have marked World AIDS Day.

Addressing a meeting organised in this connection by the Department of Rural Health Services at the Junction here on Thursday, Collector Atul Anand said 17 per cent of 5,300 women examined at Government Hospitals during the current year had tested positive for HIV.

"To deal with HIV and AIDS infected people effectively, a wing has been constructed at a cost of Rs.25 lakhs. The anti-retro viral medicine, being sold in the range of Rs. 200 to 3,000 in the open market, is being given to patients free-of-cost as the district stands fourth in the State in having AIDS patients. The public, who extended exemplary cooperation in eradicating other dreadful diseases from the society, should assist the Government and voluntary agencies in the crusade against AIDS," he said.

Students of Kallanai Corporation Girls' Higher Secondary School took out a massive rally here.

The Tirunelveli Social Service Society distributed pamphlets in the bus-stands at Sankarankovil, Puliyangudi, Alangulam and Sernthamaram.

Its volunteers distributed leaflets to commuters. "You will live, if I (HIV) die. If I (HIV) live, you'll die," the handout, after explaining its impact across the globe, warned.

The Tirunelveli Corporation, led by the Mayor, A. Jayarani, has proposed to organise an AIDS awareness programme on its premises on Friday.

Tuticorin

Elaborate plans had been chalked out to conduct an array of sensitisation campaigns and health camps in the district during the current fiscal, using funds to the tune of Rs. 6.31 lakhs, earmarked by the State Government, Collector, V. Chandrasekaran, has said.

Speaking at a meeting organised in connection with World AIDS Day here on Thursday, he said that there were 213 AIDS-affected people (122 male, 86 female and five children) in the district.

K. Devaraj, project co-ordinator, State Resource Centre for Non-formal and Adult Education (SRCNAE), a body under the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development, said of the 51-lakh HIV positive cases in the country, 1,11, 608 had become `fully blown' AIDS patients as on July 31, 2005.

Of the 1,11, 608 AIDS patients detected in the country, 52,306 hail from Tamil Nadu, constituting 47 per cent of the total AIDS population.

The SRCNAE and Tamil Nadu AIDS Control Society would implement an awareness programme on ill effects of AIDS and the methods that needed to be taken to prevent it from spreading in this district. "We are targeting the youths. It will be executed at an outlay of Rs. 8 lakhs."

Appan Raj, Joint Director of `Medical Services,' said those who show some symptoms of AIDS should undergo Elisa Test and, if necessary, Weston Blot test at the earliest to detect the presence of HIV in their bodies.

Those who were tested HIV positive could undergo anti-retroviral therapy, a recent development in the medical field, which would help delay the process of getting converted into a `full blown' AIDS patient.

S. Mayilerumperumal, Project Officer, Mahilar Thittam, was present.