Condoms Are Cheaper Than AIDS! District Administration & FMCI observe ‘World AIDS Day’

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Condoms Are Cheaper Than AIDS! District Administration & Father Muller Charitable Institutions observe ‘World AIDS Day’

Mangaluru: World AIDS Day took place around the globe on December 1 to raise awareness around HIV and AIDS, and to support the 37.9 million people around the world living with the virus. This year’s theme was “Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Community by Community,” highlighting the role of communities in preventing, treating and supporting people with HIV. “I believe in communities,” UNAIDS executive director Winnie Byanyima said in a statement. “Communities make change happen.” “With communities in the lead and governments living up to their promises, we will end AIDS.”

This year marks the 21st World AIDS Day since its establishment in 1988, when James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter—two public health officers at the World Health Organization’s Global Program on AIDS in Geneva—co-founded the day in an effort to destigmatize the disease. Today, people can show their support for people living with HIV and AIDS by donning a red ribbon. What is the difference between HIV and AIDS? HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus, a condition that weakens the immune system against infections and certain cancers by destroying or impairing the body’s immune cells.

If an HIV-positive person does not receive treatment, they could be susceptible to diseases and infections a person with a functioning immune system would be able to fight off, including—but not limited to—tuberculosis and cryptococcal meningitis. AIDS, which stands for acquired immune deficiency syndrome, is the most advanced stage of HIV. And as they say “Better Late Than Never”, locally in order to bring awareness about AIDS and to observe World AIDS Day 2019, on Friday, 6 December 2019, Karnataka State Government along with District Administration; Father Muller Charitable Institutions; DK Information Dept; Zilla Panchayath; District Legal Services Authority; NSS Red Ribbon Clubs, NACO, and various NGO’s in the city/DK, among others celebrated ‘World AIDS Day’ at Father Muller Decennial Hall.

The patients who have been infected with HIV still end up facing a lot of stigma from the society around them and this defers them from taking treatment and also losing their means of livelihood. The programme was primarily aimed at creating awareness about HIV and AIDS among the public and also break the stigma associated with the disease. Prior to the formal function held at Father Muller Hall, a rally was taken from Shanthi Nilaya Grounds, Balmatta-Mangaluru, and culminated at Fr Muller Hospital. The rally was flagged off by Dr M Ramakrishnan Rao, the District Health Officer along with other dignitaries. The rally proceeded from Balmatta Circle towards Bendore-Well, Kankanady and culminated at Fr Muller Hospital.

The formal function began with Karnataka Nada Geethe followed by welcome address by Dr Badruddin M N, the District AIDS Prevention and Control officer. Briefing on World AIDS Day and its prevention was done by Dr Ramakrishnana Rao. The programme was then inaugurated by lighting the lamp by Chief Guest- Hon’ble Kadaloor Sathyanarayana Acharya, the Principal District and Sessions Judge of Dakshina Kannada, along with other dignitaries on the dais namely- Fr Richard Coelho-Director-FMCI; Civil Judge and Legal Services Authority Member Secretary A G Gangadhar; Fr Rudolph Ravi D’sa- Administrator, Fr Muller’s; Dr Sanjeev Rai-Chief of Research, Fr Muller’s; Fr Nelson Pais- Asst Administrator, Fr Muller’s; among others.

Addressing the audience in his inaugural speech Judge Kadloor S Acharya said, “I salute Father Muller Charitable Institutions for serving the suffering and the needy patients for the last 138 years, and they have earned a name in the society. The service that this hospital renders to the patients should be commendable, and no other health care institutions can compare to FMCI. I feel really blessed and honoured to be here to grace this occasion, because the last I came to FMCI was in 2003, to inaugurate the mortuary. When I talk about mortuary, it would have been nice if mortuaries, cemeteries, crematoriums existed in the heart of the City, so that people could see and be aware of deaths, and would be careful about their health”.

“Programmes like these will bring awareness on AIDS/HIV so that people would take prevention and treatment before it is too late. Those who are affected by AIDS need to be inspired so that they won’t have any worries about the disease. I compliment the organizers of this campaign which is designed to offer support for those living with the disease, education for those trying to prevent transmission of the disease, and remembrance for those who have lost their battle to HIV and/or AIDS. Awareness programmes or Walkathons can bring a change and awareness on this deadly disease” added Judge K S Acharya.

Fr Richard Coelho also speaking on the occasion said, “God has given us life, and therefore we should live our lives fully. We need to protect our lives and also live for others. Life has to be saved, and not lost. But sadly, these days we see there is no respect for life, where people get murdered, raped, tortured, or threat to lives. Disease or illness can come to anyone, anytime. HIV earlier was considered as Stigma, but not anymore, because many now know how to tackle AIDS/HIV through prevention and awareness programmes. We all dream of a healthy society, but we have to join hands to make our lives useful, fruitful and healthful. We need to have respect for life-irrespective of caste or creed, or those with deadly diseases. We should know that counselling, prayers and support is needed to make a society a healthy one”.

Pledge was taken during the occasion against the prevention of AIDS/HIV by the august gathering. Certificates of appreciation were presented to various health care institutions who had shown dedication and concern towards the awareness on AIDS. The vote of thanks was proposed by Ms Sumangala- counsellor at Lady Goschen Hospital-Mangaluru, and the programme was compered by Mahesh- District Supervisor-DAPCU unit. The formal function ended with a powerpoint presentation on AIDS and its prevention by Dr Abhilash V- Senior Resident Dr at FMCI-OBG Dept; and also a witty and entertaining Yakshagana on AIDS topic by the Shamboor Lingeshwara Yahshagana Mela.

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