Fatal AIDS cases in Goa touch 466 mark

PANAJI – The Red Ribbon Express (RRE), a project of the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) will witness a seven coach train stopping at the Margao rail junction on August 17 and 18 with an aim to spread awareness about the fatal disease in the rural areas, just as the figure of deaths from AIDS in the state reached 466, as on May 31, 2008.

The statistics provided by the monitoring and evaluation unit of the Goa State AIDS Control Society (GSACS) point out 91 such deaths during the year 2005, which climbed to 108 and 109 during the years 2006 and 2007, respectively, and were 51 this year, up to May 31, 2008.

The statistics also maintained that the state has registered altogether 10,752 HIV positive cases – 7,266 males and 3,486 females – from 1987 to May 31, 2008, with the state positivity rate being 6.32 per cent. The figures further inform that two HIV-TB co-infection cases were detected during the month of June 2008 at the Integrated Counselling and Test Centre (ICTC) in the state.

The Navhind Times

Meanwhile, the GSACS sources informed that the Red Ribbon Express, which will arrive in Goa from Dharwad on August 16, was launched on its countrywide journey from New Delhi on December 1, 2007, the World AIDS Day. The train will leave Margao for Miraj on August 18.

The three coaches of the train will have exhibition about AIDS while one coach each is dedicated to training, counselling and office cum pantry. The remaining coach will work as a sleeper for the staff of Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS), which is one of the organisers of the project. The local Nehru Yuvak Kendra, during the period of stay of the Express in Margao, will undertake awareness programmes about AIDS in various villages from Salcete, Sanguem and Canacona talukas. These programmes will include use of street plays and songs.

The objective of the Express is to focus on rural areas aimed at disseminating information regarding primary prevention services, developing an understanding about the disease to reduce stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/ AIDS and strengthening peoples knowledge about the measures to be taken to prevent HIV/AIDS infection, besides adopting preventive health habits and lifestyle. The Express will work on three levels – platform activities, cycle caravan and bus caravan. “Though the Express will have counselling services and presence of doctors, no testing would be carried out for HIV in it,” the GSACS sources informed. The Express will return to New Delhi on November 28, later this year.

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