Kolkata, Dec.1 : Scores of people took part in a marathon here on Sunday to spread awareness about AIDS.
UNICEF and a self-help group organized the "Red Ribbon Marathon" a day ahead of World AIDS Day, which is observed on December 1. "HIV/AIDS amongst children is still very minimal. So, we are hoping that with this kind of activity, with this kind of action, people will wake up and really they'll (form) a strategy and take action towards combating HIV/AIDS. They would also focus on children because they are being left out now in terms of treatment," said Lori Calvo, the UNICEF Representative in West Bengal.
Children are still a marginalized lot when it comes to AIDS awareness and treatment. HIV positive children often face discrimination at the hands of school authorities or society.
India has the world's third highest caseload with 2.5 million infections. It has an estimated 200,000 intravenous drug users, many of whom reside in the remote northeast region that borders the opium-producing Golden Triangle of Myanmar, Thailand and Laos.
Official figures show that over ten percent of intravenous drug users in India are infected with HIV, a higher prevalence than among prostitutes.
The country's overall HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is about 0.9 percent for those aged between 15 and 49.