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Prevent resurgence of AIDS epidemic, says AIDS Momentum 2022

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By EMN Updated: Sep 02, 2014 10:19 pm
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EMN
DIMAPUR, SEPTEMBER 2

CIVIL society leaders from Northeastern region, representing communities of drug users, transgenders, men who have sex with men, female sex workers and people living with HIV, Church leaders and AIDS activist gathered today in Dimapurfor a civil society consultation on ‘AIDS Momentum 2022’.
The AIDS Momentum 2022campaign grows from the serious concern among marginalized and at-risk populations and those living with HIV about the future of the HIV and AIDS response in India, given the recent decision of the Government of India to close down the Department of AIDS Control (DAC). This decision has been severely condemned by all, especially since it comes a month after the Health Minister’s controversial statements against sex education and condoms.
All present expressed their grave apprehension that any move towards shrinking organizational andbudgetary support to the AIDS response will lead to a reversal and upsurge of the epidemic among these groups and beyond.
In light of the rise in infections in several pockets in India and persistently high levels of discrimination, communities of drug users, sex workers, transgenders, males who have sex with males and people living with HIV demand that the HIV programme continue at least for another 5 years till 2022, after the current strategy winds up in 2017.
Bilal Hussain, Project Manager (TI-IDU) DAIPARC, Assam “Through the integration, the Government may save some funds, but at what cost? This move will cost lives!”
Robin Rai, General Secretary Recovering Users Network, Sikkim said, “Services may be provided by the Government system but the enabling environment will not be there; accessibility will suffer. This may lead to frustration among key populations when they don’t receive the services they are supposed to get.”
Pastor Yanbemo Lotha, Lotha Baptist Church, Dimapur Nagaland said, ‘People in villages continue to get infected and such infections are more now than before. The Government and other HIV programmes are not aware of this.’
Moses Zofaka Pachuau, General Secretary, Mizoram Drug Users Forum said “The current AIDS programs unique strategyof working through CBOs and NGOs led to increased coverage, and has created community level role models and leaders, which has not been seen in any other programme. Let us not lose these gains”
Nini Pakma, President, Meghalaya Drug Users Network “Stigma and discrimination has not reduced during the National AIDS control programs implementation. In such a situation, how can we close the programme in 2017 and hand over for mainstreaming in the general health system?”
Teiso Solo General Secretary NEIHRN – “Integration into the health system will only work if the drug users, sexual minorities and sex workers are decriminalized. Is the Govt ready for that?”
W.C Humtsoe, President N- Naga DAO – “If the Govt is serious, then it should place the AIDS Bill in Parliament for debate, before anything else.”
Jakarta Nath,Tripura Drug Users Forum- “We will accept the closure of AIDS program because otherwise we will suffer without services”
AIDS Momentum 2022 is a national campaign led by community-based organizations of marginalized communities bearing the brunt of the AIDS epidemic and engaged actively as leaders in providing prevention, care and support services to those at risk and living with the virus.
The campaign was launched at a community consultation in Chennai; subsequently, consultations have been organized in Bhubaneswar and Calcutta.
Following this meeting in Dimapur, similar consultations are planned in Delhi, Ahmadabad and Mumbai. The AIDS Momentum 2022 campaign seeks to collaborate with the government to maintain and fully implement an effective and evidence-based HIV programme in India which will help sustain and consolidate the gains so far.

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By EMN Updated: Sep 02, 2014 10:19:16 pm