New Delhi, Dec 1: USAID India Mission Director George Deikun has said that strong partnerships between individuals, organisations and governments could make big difference in the fight against AIDS.
"We must also always remember that this disease is preventable, and that we can lessen its impact through treatment. People with HIV can live healthy lives and be effective leaders in prevention and care. Many are doing so around the world with low-cost, high quality anti-retroviral medications produced here in India," said Deikun at a seminar on AIDS awareness here on Friday.
“The successes achieved through the strong leadership of such individuals, organisations and governments as well as partnerships, such as that between the United States and India in fighting HIV/AIDS, demonstrate that our actions do make a difference," he added.
A participant at the musical show which was part of the seminar said it was high time efforts were made to end the social stigma attached to HIV/AIDS.
"The main purpose of this song is to give hope to AIDS patients. Letting them know that today is not the end for them," said Lalngailien Joute.
Lack of awareness and widespread stigma and discrimination have contributed to paranoia about the virus in India, where HIV patients are meted out rude treatment and are looked down upon.
AIDS has acquired the status of endemic in India -- where more than 2.5 million people are thought to be living with HIV/AIDS -- and putting millions more lives at risk.
According to the latest UN figures on AIDS, the global prevalence of HIV/AIDS has leveled off in part due to effective HIV programs.
Still, in 2007 there are 33.2 million people infected with the human immunodeficiency virus-- about 30.8 million adults and 2.5 million children.
Latest figures show that 2.5 million people became newly infected and 2.1 million people will die of AIDS related causes in 2007.