World AIDS Day 2017: Everyone Counts

At a function to mark the World AIDS Day on 1 December 2017, Ms Anupriya Patel, Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, called for all to join hands in the fight against HIV so that ‘together we can end the epidemic by 2030’.

Reiterating the commitment to end the epidemic, Ms Patel stated that the political commitment of government for an all-inclusive AIDS response is proved by the fact that the long awaited HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control, Act, 2017 has been enacted.

Ms Anupriya Patel also launched the National Strategic Plan 2017-24 and Mission ‘SAMPARK’, to trace those people who are left to follow up and are to be brought under ART services.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Henk Bekedam, WHO Representative to India, congratulated NACO for its exemplary leadership and extraordinary success in achieving 66% reduction in HIV infections and 54% reduction in death rates. However, he cautioned against any complacency.

“It is also important to ensure that everyone gets treatment, though prevention is the best way of protection. Creating awareness and informing communities is critical for the success of the programme,” he added.

Ms Preeti Sudan, Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, said that HIV-TB co-infection was a matter of great concern, and keeping this in mind, TB/HIV drugs were now being made available from a single window.

Dr Bilali Camara, Country Coordinator, UNAIDS, said that India’s contribution to the world in providing affordable, quality medicines was highly appreciable. “Around 21 million HIV people in Africa are on drugs supplied by India,” he said.