Red Ribbon Express to the aid of patients

Red Ribbon Express to the aid of patients

The Red Ribbon Express III train, which is on a countrywide mission spreading awareness about HIV/AIDS, arrived at the Cantonment Railway Station on Monday morning. It will be stationed there till Wednesday.

Yakshagana artistes pose in front of the Red Ribbon Express at the Cantonment Railway Station in Bangalore on  Monday. DH Photo

The HIV/AIDS campaign on wheels kicked off on January 12 (World Youth Day). The train has so far travelled about 25,000 kilometres, covering 162 districts and 40,000 villages in the country.

The campaign, the third in Bangalore, was received with great enthusiasm by the public.

Among those present to give their views about HIV/AIDS and its prevention and treatment were Commissioner of Health and Family Welfare G S Ramprasad, actor Jaggesh, MLA Roshan Baig, Joint Director of the National AIDS Control Organisation Shyam Prasad, film star Neetu, Deputy Commissioner M K Ayyappa, Karnataka State AIDSPrevention Society Project Director Salma Fahim, and Mission Director of the National Rural Health Mission Selvakumar.

“The train’s objective is to remove the many misconceptions about HIV. It is also a way to ensure we don’t carry the virus, by getting ourselves tested,” said State Law Minister S Suresh Kumar. He urged people to be more sympathetic towards HIV-positive patients. “Instead of treating them as outcasts, we should give them a chance to live by giving them love and support.”

The Red Ribbon Express will also provide the much-needed care, counselling and tests, sanitisation and training on health care.

The campaign includes a blood donation programme and tests for polio.

“Get medical tests done in the interest of the country’s future. Being ignorant about the presence (of HIV) won’t help us in any way,” said Salma Fahim.

Actor Jaggesh urged the youth to stop taking their lives for granted.

“Start living more responsibly,” he said.

“Sex education is absolutely necessary in our times although most Indian parents are against it. Children will take things more seriously when they are taught about it. We should put the fear of AIDS in our children. Live-in relationships becoming common is one of the other main reasons for the spread of HIV/AIDS,” he said.

An AIDS Signature Campaign was also held on the occasion.

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