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President Urges to Avoid Discrimination Against AIDS Patients

The President, Shri A.P.J.Abdul Kalam has urged Parliamentarians to see that a robust and effective legislation which would prevent discrimination against AIDS// patients in their day-to-day life is brought into force within the next six months. The President was addressing a function on World AIDS Day organized by Parliamentarians Forum on HIV/AIDS and NACO here today.

The President made the following suggestions to MPs, research laboratories, the Pharma industry and the Health Ministry: Considering taking up control and prevention of HIV/AIDS from their constituency within the next five years as an important mission; Members of Parliament can create an organized awareness campaign among all rural youth and women in their constituency for enabling prevention of infection among this population through a well-organised prevention programme; Creating a mechanism in partnership with societal organizations, medical institutions and Government for testing blood for any contamination and ensuring that contaminated blood is not stored in any blood banks in their constituency; Considering facilitating hassle-free availability of all services such as schooling for children, rural employment, nutrition, health services, banking credit, training and employment to all people with HIV/AIDS in their constituency. This will enable improvement of the quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS and make them feel that they are an integral part of society; Consider creation of a HIV/AIDS Foundation in partnership with philanthropists and NGOs in their constituency, which can provide financial assistance to needy HIV/AIDS patients for their treatment and sustenance and to identify individual groups and encourage their work to find out two or three herbal based solutions for the cure of HIV and for a HIV vaccine.

The Vice-President Shri Bhairon Singh Shekhawat in his address said that the YUVA campaign spearheaded by the youth has the potential to play a pio neering role in radiating inspiration, encouragement and motivation in every nook and corner of the country and thus generate a strong tide of common will to start a people’s movement to fight and control HIV/AIDS.

The Lok Sabha Speaker Shri Somnath Chatterjee in his address said one of the biggest hurdles in the way of the AIDS Control Programmes is the social stigma and discrimination faced by those who are infected and also by those who are closely associated with them. Many HIV infected people suffer from violation of their basic right of access to treatment and care. Among the victims, women and children are the worst sufferers. They experience acute economic hardships, psychological distress, social ostracism, loss of inheritance and undergo severe physiological and social trauma. That being so, more focused attention need to be paid to women and children affected by AIDS.

Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss, Minister for Health and Family Welfare in his address said “Increasingly, HIV/AIDS is being perceived less as a medical problem and more of a social issue, necessitating the involvement of all people, no matter where they live and what they do”. The government recently constituted the National Council on AIDS (NCA) under the chairpersonship of the Prime Minister. The NCA has 31 Ministers as Members. The NCA not only signals the highest level of political commitment to this programme but also provides opportunities to mainstream HIV/AIDS within all on going Government programmes and expand outreach to our services, he added.

The President also released a postage stamp and a First Day Cover on World AIDS Day. The stamp is of Rs.five denomination.

Today’s function was attended by Labour Minister, Shri Oscar Fernandes, Shri L.K.Advani and a number of Ministers and MPs.

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