Dharamshala RRC win the 20-20 Cricket match, Red ribbon Pinning and Face painting by Red ribbon clubs to boost HIV AIDS awareness

Dharamshala: Youth volunteers of Red Ribbon Club Dronacharya College pinned red ribbons on students and staff of participants of the Red Ribbon cricket match at GC Dharamshala, under the 20-20 AIDS awareness campaign. MD Dronacharya College GS Pathania inaugurated the event at Dharamshala College Ground. Prof YD Singh, Charu Kaushal Nodal Officer and Pushpinder Sharma coach were also present on the occasion. Red Ribbon Club Dharamshala scored 86 runs and won the match by 12 runs in a tight contest.

Huge Red Ribbon Banners on the campaign were also prominently displayed at the playground. Under this campaign Youth development Centre CSK HPKV and various red ribbon clubs including KLB College & SCVT Palampur, Shivnagar College, Govt College Indora, ITI Palampur, ITI Thakurdwara, ITI Shahpur conducted mehndi, rangoli, contests declamation and skit. In the face painting contest organised today by RRC Dronacharya college at Dharamshala, The team of Rajni & Sonia with slogan of Dikhao Dum and lets’ throw AIDS out bagged the best prize, folowd by Nitika and Rohini who painted the slogans Dum Hai To and 20 20.

On this occasion District AIDS Project Officer Dr RK Sood shared the importance of wearing the red ribbon. He told the youth that the Red Ribbon is the global symbol for solidarity with HIV positive and people living with AIDS and it unites us in the cause. He further stated that HIV/AIDS is a problem of youth, youth are vulnerable to this infection due to risk taking and misconceptions. The 20-20 campaign is novel attempt to raise awareness and promote behaviour change, increase risk perception and motivate youth go know their status though cricket, rural sports and various contests.

The theme of 20-20 campaign is Dum Hai To (If you are bold) inspiring and challenging youth to be more open and bold – To talk about HIV/AIDS – To know your HIV status -To call 1299 and clear the doubts (Free helpline BSNL)- To take care of HIV +ve members – To accept HIV +ve peers as friends – To say no to negative peer pressures – To say no to marriage without knowing the HIV status of their future partners.

The Red Ribbon Club Scheme aims to reduce new HIV infection among youth by raising their risk perception through awareness on Sex, Sexuality and HIV & AIDS and induce among youth the spirit to help and support people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) thereby reducing stigma and discrimination against PLHWAs. It also endeavours to motivate youth and build their capacity as peer educators and change agents by developing their skills on leadership, negotiation, and team building.

Red ribbon pinning, Mehndi and Rangoli competition were also organised at Shanti Niketan College Nagrota Surian. Anita stood first in Mehndi and Arti Bala was adjudged first in Rangoli. Artists form Friends Musical Group Sujanpur Tihra gave entertaining performances at various places in the District during the campaign with message of HIV prevention and Be Bold. Nehry Yuva Kendre RRC also conducted Red ribbon Cricket Match, slogan contest, Mendi and rangoli contests, Volleyball and Badminton, To conclude the campaign Nehru Yuva Kendra- Red Ribbon Clubs across the district will take mass pledge against drugs, and make human chains wearing red Ribbons to make youth

We all need to learn our HIV status- if we are negative we can be relaxed and take precaution for future to remain negative. As there are no symptoms of HIV infection for a long period, the only way we can know our status is through a blood test. If we test positive we can avail the benefit of free treatment, which is available at Shimla and Hamirpur, and live long & healthy life with Anti Retroviral Therapy. The test is totally free of cost and confidentiality of person getting tested as well as report is maintained. The awareness is also translating into increased uptake of services. People are coming forward to get tested and over sixteen thousand people have availed the free and confidential HIV testing facilities in ICTCs in the District this year so far.

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