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President Urges to Avoid Discrimination Against AIDS Patients

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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