Chennai hosts youth carnival to boost AIDS awareness

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Chennai, Aug 11 (ANI): A three-day youth carnival has been organised in Chennai to spread AIDS awareness and sensitise masses about the deadly disease.

Pledging their solidarity with the people living with HIV, scores of people participated in the special 'Illavatam' (Youth Carnival) amid fanfare and exuberance.

In a bid to strengthen social amalgamation, the activists also held plays and musical shows with a 'humanist' approach and condemned the widespread practice of marginalisation and discrimination against the HIV infected people.

Hosted by the Indian Community Welfare Organisation (ICWO), a spate of mesmerising cultural performances and breathtaking acrobatics were also held during the course of the inaugural session.

The organisers said the main objective behind the festival is to enlighten youngsters about HIV-AIDS and remove misconceptions and doubts that instigate fear with regard to the ailment.

"Specifically, this platform is used to give opportunity for the HIV infected people to come and express their status and mobilize support for people living with HIV-AIDS. There are also performances by them, lot of interactions and small group meetings," said A.J. Hariharan, Founder Secretary of the ICWO.

"This platform is to provide information, not to discriminate or isolate people living with HIV-AIDS," he added.

The event that began on Tuesday garnered a lot of support with the participation of the locals.

Exhibition matches of volleyball and football were also organised to spread AIDS awareness, while over 3,000 students from schools and colleges of the city actively presented their artistic skills in diverse competitions.

"In today's scenario, people are not even aware of the difference between HIV and AIDS. They are two different things and people are not aware of that. I think it will be good if they are educated on HIV," said Bharathi, a college student.

"This will be more beneficial because it is told through entertainment which reaches people very easily. I am very happy to be a part of this programme, and I am very happy to contribute a little bit for the eradication of AIDS," he added.

As per the report of the United Nations, over 5.7 million people in India are infected with HIV/AIDS. (ANI)

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