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The world and the virus

The world was shocked when actor Rock Hudson declared to have AIDS on July 25, 1985. He was the first American celebrity to publicly admit it. He died few months later, on October 2. Since the day the first case of HIV in human was known from a man who died in Congo in the late 1950s, the world is living with distress. The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) has been suppressing the immune system of many persons globally, including hundreds of important people. Many had died and many are surviving. The virus was first clinically detected in 1981 in United States and in India the first case was reported in 1986. Since the 1980s, more than 70 million people have been infected and about 35 million have died, according to data from WHO’s Global Health Observatory. The major threat to the humankind has ushered the formation of the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) in 1992. Later, National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) was also constituted for its implementation so as to fight and control the HIV epidemic.

It was estimated last year that around 36.7 million people live with HIV infection worldwide, out of which approximately one million people had died due to HIV related illness in 2016 alone. In India, people living with HIV are estimated to be around 2.1 million. Since the year 2010, new HIV infections have decreased by 46 percent and AIDS related deaths by 22 percent. However, in 2016 alone, there were around 80,000 new cases of HIV infections and 62,000 deaths. Among the states and union territories, the highest prevalence of HIV infection has been in Manipur with 1.15 percent, Mizoram with 0.8 percent and Nagaland with 0.78 percent. Apart from the records, probability is high that there must have been many more HIV infected persons who have not tested yet due to fear of the deadly truth or have not expected at all of such infection. Apart from the fear of death, people living with HIV still face stigma and discrimination in a state like Manipur. Iconic figure like Khundrakpam Pradipkumar Singh should exist more in the society so that HIV positive people can live their lives with dignity. The 45 year old building champion and the brand ambassador for HIV/AIDS by the Manipur State AIDS Control Society, has been living with HIV more than a decade. His journey so far in fighting the virus gives the strongest inspiration to every HIV infected person though out the world.

During 1990s, most of the HIV infections in Manipur were due to injected drug abuse and physical relation, however with effective awareness programmes organised by various organisations and NGOs, the infection has reduced in the last two decades. Even though, it is hard to explain that HIV infection is now under control. Facetiously, it can be said that HIV is a kind of virus which is infected only through the most gratifying human practices or nature, whether it is through drug abuse to stay high or physical intimacy. Additionally, there has also been rapid rise in homosexuality in the state and unlike olden days, this could be one of the factors of widespread of HIV infection nowadays. Night life in Imphal seemed to be introduced very recently but the state capital has never been slept since long time ago for many transgender and gays. The activities they do post midnight are needless to explain. However, it is highly important for every person, irrespective of all the sexual orientation, to be really careful while gratifying their time and space.

The theme of this year’s World AIDS Day global campaign is ‘Right to health’, and under the slogan ‘Everybody counts’, World Health Organisation (WHO) will advocate for access to safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines, including medicines, diagnostics and other health commodities as well as health care services for all the people in need, with protection against financial risks. With the aim to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) by 2030, global leaders had signed up to the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 and the framework of UHC is now at the centre of all health programmes. Many individuals and important persons have also been putting lots of effort to save the lives of HIV infected people. To name few, there is former US president Barack Obama, who has teamed up with Jimmy Kimmel, Bono, Coca Cola, and Project Red to fight HIV. Apart from all kinds of initiatives by different individuals or organisations, the whole people of the world should be fully responsible to minimise or even wipe out the virus from the face of earth.

Leader Writer: Khogen Khoibam

Source: Imphal Free Press



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