On the eve of the World Aids Day, Mizoram State AIDS Control Society (MSACS), AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) organised a rooftop concert to promote HIV testing among the public. Mizoram had the highest adult HIV prevalence among states in India in 2017, being detected in 2.04 per cent of the people whose blood samples were tested.
To show how easy the process of testing is, celebrated Mizo singers, sportspersons and models took the HIV test in public while many youths present at the event joined them. The idea behind the initiative was to empower people to protect themselves and their loved ones. Addressing the press, AHF director, Dr. V Sam Prasad said, “The infection had been detected in 2.04 per cent of the people whose blood samples were tested in Mizoram, which is ten times compared to 0.22 per cent in the whole of India.”
“We need to broaden our minds and stop the discrimination of people living with the HIV, make a better society for them to live in, and help them receive proper treatment, care and support which will help them live a long life,” Dr Prasad said. “Discrimination against them only deters people from seeking HIV prevention, which results in weakening the ability to stop this disease. We will continue to work and create awareness among the people about how HIV testing is important. Distributing condoms for safe sex is also the main agenda for AHF,” he added.
The main reasons behind the severe number of HIV diagnosed cases in Mizoram are unsafe sex, followed by sharing of needles and syringes by drug users and sexual intercourse between homosexual partners, according to the Mizoram State Aids Control Society. “Considering the present HIV scenario in the state, the awareness, I believe is a great step taken to tackle the problem we face because of the disease,” says Mizo singer DJ Lalvenhimi, who also got her blood tested.