Red Ribbon Express arrives at Egmore station

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Chennai, Jun 1 (UNI) Red Ribbon Express, a specially-designed seven coach train carrying HIV/AIDS prevention messages, arrived at the Egmore station here this evening.

The train which arrived at Katpadi a couple of days ago as part of 40-day awareness campaign, would stay in 19 stations during its 40-day sojourn in the state.

It would remain here for two days and leave for Chengalpattu on June 3.

The first three coaches in the train have an exhibition on AIDS prevention, The fourth coach was an auditorium where special programmes were being held for self-help groups and students.

Free guidance were being provided to the victims and the public alike in the fifth compartment, while the last two coaches, were hosted by the Nehru Yuva Kendra cultural troupe.

In the first phase, the train promoted by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), would stop at various stations till June 28. In the second phase, it would visit other highly HIV prevalent places between July 12 and 21.

Salem and Namakkal districts have been identified as highly HIV prevalent areas in the state where an estimated 2.47 lakh people were infected with the dreaded disease.

The express would stop at Salem, Madurai, Arakkonam, Chengalpattu, Chennai, Villupuram, Puducherry, Vridhachalam, Tiruchirapalli and Cuddalore to promote awareness on HIV.

Health Minister M R K Panneerselvam, Chennai Corporation Mayor Ma Subramaniam, Ms Supriya Sahu, Project Director, Tamil Nadu AIDS Control Society and other officials were present when the train chugged into the Egmore station.

Cultural troupe members in the Express would fan out to villages situated near the station where the train halts to stage performance on AIDS awareness.

The Red Ribbon Express was flagged off on December 1, the World Aids Day, by Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

The Express was aimed at spreading awareness about HIV, promoting safe behavioural practises and fighting the stigma and discrimination against AIDS.

UNI GV ROY AM VC2010

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