Several events will mark World AIDS Day in the city on Wednesday.

PUNE: Several events will mark World AIDS Day in the city on Wednesday.

Source: Times of India

PUNE: Several events will mark World AIDS Day in the city on Wednesday.

A voluntary HIV testing week has been organised by Samvad HIV/AIDS helpline from Wednesday. The test is being done free at more that 5, 000 testing centres run by the government all over India. Puneites can take the test at concessional rates from doctors linked to Samvad.

The helpline handles nearly 100 HIV/AIDS related calls daily and referred more than 25,000 people for HIV testing. The caller can remain anonymous and get context specific, one-on-one advice from a counsellor.

Citizens wanting information on HIV/AIDS can attend the open house on Wednesday and Thursday on the National AIDS Research Institute’s premises at 73, G block, MIDC, Bhosari, from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm. NARI’s laboratory and team of experts will provide all information to visitors.

Wake Up Pune, an awareness campaign of Deep Griha Society, has been spreading awareness on HIV/AIDS. “We have organised a series of events and used street/interactive theatre, rangoli,’ photography, and dance. Different art forms affect people in ways that simple slogans or lecturing do not,” said Ryan Beck Turner, the NGO’s coordinator in Pune.

One such event is the mobile stigma tunnel, an interactive experience designed to give participants a glimpse into the lives of stigmatised HIV positive people, through four rooms. It has a doctor’s office where the participant is diagnosed, a room where the participant is rejected by family, a room where the participant is rejected by the community, and finally, an empty, dark room that symbolises the alienation and isolation they face. It has already been to several villages and slums in Pune and outside.

Volunteers began their awareness programmes in mid-November. They had sessions with school children, street plays in different parts of the city, and fund-raising auctions.

A rally has been organised on Wednesday at Shaniwarwada from 10 am. An HIV-themed talent contest between six nursing colleges will be held on Thursday at SGS Mall in the cantonment between 5 pm and 7 pm. This will be followed by a bootcamp at St Claire’s School on Friday, and a Celebration of Life Rally’ and programmes on Saturday at Deep Griha Society on Tadiwala Road.



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