Minister asks HIV +ve to be bold, assures Centre's support

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Hyderabad, Dec 7 (UNI) Assuring people Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs) that the whole nation and the Union Government were with them in their fight against the dreaded disease, Union Labour Minister and Parliamentary forum on HIV/AIDS Convenor Oscar Fernandes today exhorted them to be bold to together make a better world to live in.

Addressing an impressive gathering of PLWHAs here, he said there was life after HIV/AIDS. ''Together we shall make a better world.'' Assuring them that politicians across party lines were ready to support them in their fight, he praised the PLWHAs for their courage and said the social stigma against the disease was slowly decreasing.

Overwhelmed by the response from the PLWHAs in Andhra Pradesh to the Centre's efforts of mainstreaming them, Mr Fernandes said Andhra Pradesh stood as a model for other states in mobilising the PLWHAs to join the social mainstream.

Lamenting that institutional delivery by pregnant women was not uniform throughout the country, he said efforts were on to promote institutional delivery and prevent the disease from spreading to children. Every pregnant woman should voluntarily undergo testing to ensure that their new-born was AIDS-free.

Parliamentary forum co-convenor J D Seelam, MP, said the dreaded disease, which was initially confined to some parts of the state and high - risk groups like truck drivers and sex workers, had spread to the general population. He urged the PLWHAs not to skip medicines during the initial stage of treatment as it would be too difficult to cure it at a later stage, if neglected.

He urged them to shed their reluctance and visit centres set up by the National AIDS Control Society and the Andhra Pradesh State AIDS Control Society.

Legislators forum convenor Sailajanath said that in the wake of the launch of '0/7 campaign', as many as 5.30 lakh pregnant women had voluntarily undergone tests. There was an encouraging trend of declining incidence of HIV among pregnant women, he noted.

On this occasion, the leaders, PLWHAs and social activists rededicated themselves to the Hyderabad Declaration adopted last year to join hands to create a better world which was free of new HIV infections, stigma and discrimination towards PLWHAs.

UNI

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