Mizoram's 'Love Brigade' pill seeks to prevent HIV/AIDS

Mizoram's 'Love Brigade' pill seeks to prevent HIV/AIDS

The campaign is a joint initiative of MSACS and AIDS Healthcare Foundation India Cares

A bunch of taxi drivers and bikers on the streets of Mizoram capital Aizawl are now offering something more than the paid ride: a packet of condoms free of cost along with tips to avoid HIV/AIDS.

On World AIDS Day on Tuesday, Mizoram roped in 500 taxi drivers and paid bike riders and engaged them as "Love Brigade" to distribute free condoms among passengers as part of a campaign to check the spread of HIV/AIDS.

"The campaign has been named as Free Love Condoms. The taxi drivers and bikers will provide condoms free of cost to their passengers while offering the ride. The Love Brigade will also be trained in HIV/AIDS counseling and would give out the details of the free HIV testing initiatives of Mizoram State AIDS Control Society (MSACS) and share pamphlets with preventive messages for awareness among the masses," MSACS said in a statement on Tuesday.

The campaign is a joint initiative of MSACS and AIDS Healthcare Foundation India Cares.

With a little over 11 lakh population, Mizoram is the second least populated state but the prevalence of HIV/AIDS is much more than the national average. The HIV prevalence amongst the adult population between 15 and 19 years was 2.04% which is almost 10 times higher than the national prevalence of 0.22%. The annual HIV infection in the state is 1.32%, which is 20 times higher than the national average of 0.07%.

Unsafe sex and injectable drug use are the two major reasons for HIV/AIDS infection in the state. 

 

"This is the first such campaign in the country. The Love Brigade will try to find lasting solutions for stigma reduction especially through distribution of condoms free of cost. We are also trying to collaborate with Church Youth Leadership for more innovations to improve the services for people infected and affected with HIV," said the statement.