Jorhat, Mar 19 : The Red Ribbon Express, the world's largest social mobilization campaign against Acquired Immuno Deficiency Disease (AIDS) is spreading awareness in the North Eastern Region.
The specially designed seven-coach train, with three education and exhibition coaches, a multi-media presentation on Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and an auditorium coach reached Assam a few days back.
According to Doctors, the locals are thronging in large numbers for the counseling sessions and the response they are getting is encouraging.
"We are coming here to counsel people, for creating awareness amongst people and all regarding this AIDS or HIV infection, how it occurs, how it spreads and how it can be treated. So, people are coming for counseling," said Gulap Deka, Deputy Superintendent of Jorhat Civil Hospital.
He informed that there are around 16 detected cases of AIDS in Jorhat District alone and around 42 infected cases have been identified till date.
The express has initiated many unique concepts including street plays for spreading awareness. Small films and videos are presented in the auditorium to educate people.
Interestingly, a machine has been installed inside the Red Ribbon Express, which pops out condoms when a Re 1 coin is inserted. Such measures, the staff inform, have been taken for those who are shy to talk.
Rajeshri, a visitor said he learnt many things like how AIDS spreads and how one can escape from the dreaded disease.
Northeastern states are the worst AIDS affected region in the country.
The 'Red Ribbon Express' was flagged off from New Delhi on December 1 last year to coincide with World AIDS DAY.
'Red Ribbon Express', a train dedicated to the service of spreading awareness on AIDS is scheduled to traverse over 27, 000 kilometers covering 180 stations holding programs and activities in more than 50, 000 villages across the country.
India has the world's third biggest caseload of people living with the deadly virus. After originally estimating some 5.7 million were infected in India, the U.N. reduced that estimate to 2.5 million.
It says the global prevalence of HIV infections has levelled off, in part due to effective health programmes.