Hyderabad, Dec 1 (UNI) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy today urged all sections of people to voluntarily undergo tests for HIV/AIDS in order to reduce social stigma and discrimination against HIV/AIDS-infected people.
The Chief Minister, who had himself taken the lead by undergoing the test, along with Speaker K R Suresh Reddy and other legislators, said the stigma was slowly fading away with as many as 15 lakh people undergoing the tests in the last 11 months as against five lakh in the previous 11 months.
Participating in the World AIDS Day programme here, he urged every citizen to be part of the ''be bold campaign'' and fight the spread of the disease.
Even while stressing the importance of moral values to prevent the spread of the disease, he advocated promotion of condom use among high risk groups like sex workers and truck drivers. Religious leaders were being roped in as part of the AIDS awareness campaign.
He asked pregnant mothers, carrying the virus, to take proper medical care to ensure the disease did not get transmitted to babies.
State Health Minister S Chandrasekar said an encouraging trend of declining HIV positive cases was seen among pregnant women. All possible efforts were being made to provide Nevirapine prophylaxis to positive pregnant women and encourge them in having institutional deliveries.
The Chief Minister and the Health Minister distributed awards to non-governmental organisations, doctors, officials and teachers for their outstanding contributions in fighting the dreaded disease.
On the occasion, over 500 adolescent children, comprising orphans and vulnerable children, made an appeal to the elders to give them a ''HIV-free world to live in.'' UNI