The Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare has inaugurated the review meeting of the National AIDS Control Program at Agra on 24th August, 2023. The event was organized by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
NACO is an organization dedicated to preventing and controlling the spread of HIV/AIDS across the country through State AIDS Control Societies. The two-day meeting, that took place on 24th and 25th August, 2023, is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goal of ending HIV/AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
The National AIDS and STD Control Program (NACP) is currently in its fifth phase, aiming to reduce new HIV infections and AIDS-related mortality while also eliminating the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS in society.
During his address at the event, the Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare emphasized the stigma faced by HIV/AIDS patients and reiterated the government’s commitment to strengthen the response to HIV/AIDS and STDs.
Several initiatives were highlighted, including the National AIDS toll-free helpline, lifetime free ART (Antiretroviral Therapy) services, free lifelong antiretroviral (ARV) medicines for people living with HIV, and various counseling and diagnostic services. The need to reduce discrimination against affected populations was also stressed by citing the government’s “HIV & AIDS policy for establishments 2022.”
The focus was also put on increasing social inclusivity and using a multisectoral approach to combat HIV. The importance of accurate detection and treatment was underscored, ensuring that care services reach even the remotest parts of the country. It was also explained that individuals who refuse testing could inadvertently harm their communities by potentially spreading the disease.
It was emphasized that society must demystify the myths surrounding HIV/AIDS, and a call was made for more rigorous Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) campaigns, and determination to curb the epidemic.