Massive drive to sensitise Uttar Pradesh villagers against AIDS

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Gorakhpur, Oct 16 (ANI): The Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group, a voluntary organization, has started a massive AIDS and HIV awareness campaign in the Sardarganj and Campierganj areas of Gorakhpur district in Uttar Pradesh.

The programme is aimed at residents who are unaware about HIV or AIDS, even as the disease spread in these parts is rampant. As per reports, almost 4000 people have tested HIV positive in these areas.

The organisation has 58 villages under its purview and resource centres have been opened to cover villages, where 500 people have been involved in the programme.ctivists have adopted various methods to promote awareness, including organising street plays, films, songs and so on.

"People did not know about HIV. It was a mere 5 to 10 percent who were aware of HIV and AIDS. All they knew about AIDS was that it is fatal," said Bhanmati, an activist.

The efforts are showing results. Residents are now undergoing medical tests and have started understanding the threat the disease poses.

"They told us about HIV and AIDS through street plays, films and so on. After seeing all this, we went to the medical college to get ourselves tested. Some of the people have already got themselves tested, while some are yet to do it," said Kalmi, a resident.

The organisation is also selecting residents to participate in the program to ensure that information about the disease and its dangers is widespread.

"We selected eight people in each village, two from the migrant labourers, two from their wives, two from young women, and two from the young boys. We have trained them in the programme because such campaigns will come and go, but these people will stay here and can spread awareness," said Ekta Bhartarya, coordinator, AIDS awareness programme.

There are atleast 2.5 million people in the country affected by HIV and AIDS.

As per UN reports, India must remain extremely careful, as its people are still ignorant about the use of condoms and AIDS, especially drug users and rural women. (ANI)

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