Red ribbon pinning 20-20 cricket in Himachal

Red ribbon Pinning 20-20 Cricket match and rural Games to create HIV AIDS awareness at Palampur University, Mass pledge administered by Tej Partap VC to mark 20-20 campaign

Health Department staff pinned red ribbons on students and staff of HPKV Palampur under the 20-20 AIDS awareness campaign. A canopy and exhibition was setup at the Main Gate. Local health workers, ICTC Staff and BMO Gopalpur along with District AIDS Project Officer (DAPO) Kangra flagged down vehicles at the main gate.

Dr Tej Partap, Vice Chancellor called upon all youth to actively participate in HIV awareness drive and administered pledge of commitment for fighting HIV AIDS stigma and dispelling the ignorance. 400 young people in a red ribbon formation took the oath on the occasion and voiced Dum Hai slogans. On the occasion, he also inaugurated the 20 20 sports events. The campaign will continue till 31st Jan and consists of mehndi, rangoli, tattoo, face painting contests elocution and skit.

The Youth Information and Development Centre under the aegis of HP State AIDS Control Society Simla, 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.

District AIDS Project Officer Dr RK Sood 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. 130 peer educators of red ribbon clubs have been trained in life skills and empowered to become change agents- they will be giving correct information to friends and peers throughout the campaign.

On this occasion counselor Meena citing the importance of wearing the red ribbon 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. Shilpa was the winner of the Musical chair, Red ribbon Royal Challengers tem led by Maheshwar bagged the volley ball game and Pithoo Tem led by Shivangi won the fun game. The Cricket match winners were Kingfisher Red led by Kavita, and Red Sparten won the gilli-danda event. Winners were given 20-20 tournament caps and cash prizes. Mr Sunil, Brand ambassador from RRC Dharamshala inaugurated the exhibition and participated the events. SWO Lalita Sharma; Nodal Officer Youth Development Center CSKHPKV, Dr NK Sankhyan; Programme officers Dr Ram Lal, Dr Virender Pathak, Dr Ashok Sharma and Dr Raj Pathania were present on the occasion and conducted the events.

Artists form Friends Musical Group Sujanpur Tihra gave entertaining performance at the university playground and Palampur bus stand in the evening on the event with message of HIV prevention and Be Bold. They will perform 16 shows in the next week in rural areas to motivate people to utilise the free services under the National AIDS Programme.

As there are no symptoms of HIV infection for a long period and we may had exposures through unsafe injection, piercing earlobes with unsterlised instruments or other means, the only way we can know our status is through a blood test. He added that we all need to learn our HIV status- if we are negative we can be relaxed and take precaution for future to remain negative. If we test positive we can avail the benefit of free treatment, which is available at Shimla and Hamirpur by HPSACS, 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. 16,670 people have got availed the free and confidential HIV testing facilities in ICTCs in the District this year so far.

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