Red Ribbon Express spreads HIV/AIDS awareness across 8 states

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New Delhi, Feb 27 (UNI) The Red Ribbon Express (RRE) has chugged through 54 stations spreading awareness of HIV/AIDS across Rajasthan, MP, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, UP, Uttrakhand, Bihar and Jharkhand.

The specially designed seven-coach train was flagged off on December 1, 2007 from New Delhi by Chairperson of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation Sonia Gandhi.

The train is a part of the Project of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, implemented by National AIDS Control Organisation in partnership with Nehru Yuvak Kendra Sanghatan and Ministry of Railways. It is the largest mass mobilisation effort on HIV/AIDS undertaken anywhere in the world.

Aiming to reach more than 50,000 villages across the country with comprehensive information of HIV/AIDS, the RRE will halt at 180 stations in its year-long journey.

The train comprises of three education and exhibition coaches with sleek multi-media presentaion on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, an auditorium-cum-training coach for offering training programmes and a seperate coach for counselling and medical services, a press release from Rajiv Gandhi Foundation said here today.

The RRE, which has offered 298 training sessions to a cross-section of citizens like NGOs, panchayats, community leaders, educationists have reached out to around 17,000 participants.

Besides, cycle troupes travelling on board have reached over 2088 villages disseminating information on HIV/AIDS and adopting lifestyles by mobolising about eight lakh people. In addition, an educational bus, which is also a part of the Project has covered over 298 villages, reaching out to 206191 people.

Exhibition on HIV/AIDS, perfoprmances by Song and Drama troupes, condom demonstrration and opening of new condom outlets are the major activities undertaken by the bus.

The RRE, which has entered Barauni, Bihar on February 25 will halt at Muzaffarnagar, Samatipur, Darbhanga, Mansi and Katihar in the state before reaching Assam on March 8.

UNI PY RP HS1624

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