Gangtok, Feb 14 (ANI): The AIDS Control Society of Sikkim organized a music contest and soccer tournament to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment.
Keeping in mind the two popular interests of youths, the society launched the campaign, Red Fest to attract their attention.
Project Director, Sikkim State AIDS Control Society, Uttam Pradhan on Monday, told mediapersons in Gangtok that the authorities were primarily targeting the youth, as 76 per cent of the HIV cases in the state were reported from the age group of 19-39.
"If you just call them for a meeting or for that kind of thing they are not likely to come but through this medium of music and sports I believe we got across to a lot of the young people of Sikkim," said Pradhan.
Beating the spine chilling cold wave, a crowd of young boys and girls were seen enjoying the performance of local bands.
"This is a great programme. I guess this is because like, you got all the youth in one place all together and then spreading the message of HIV- AIDS. I guess the message is getting through music. I think music is the best channel to get in to the minds and hearts of the youth," said Anand, a resident.
Through the ongoing programme the authorities also urged people to get tested at any of the thirteen integrated counseling and testing centres set up by the Society in Sikkim.
With 2.3 million reported cases of AIDS, India - like sub-Saharan Africa - is on the frontlines of the fight against the deadly virus.
A study by the World Bank, titled Cost Effectiveness of Targeted HIV Prevention Interventions for Female Sex Workers in India, said efforts made by India's National AIDS Control Programme-which focuses on high risk groups such as sex workers-was paying off and an estimated three million HIV infections would be avoided thanks to this approach between 1995 and 2015.
But despite such advances in prevention worldwide, the human and financial costs of HIV/AIDS continue to mount, requiring more support from governments and the international community. (ANI)
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