New Delhi, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has called for doing away with nomenclatures like AIDS/HIV communities on the World AIDS Day.
“Let us shun any kind of discrimination in our thoughts, actions and behaviour in our interaction with HIV positive people. Let us do away with nomenclatures, such as “AIDS/HIV communities. Let us not bracket people who suffer from and have survived various diseases”, he said at an event celebrating the World AIDS Day, organised by the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO), here on Sunday.
Stating that a long distance has been travelled in the fight against AIDS and HIV, the Minister said, “there are still some significant milestones that need to be achieved for making the country free of HIV AIDS by 2030, such as the lingering pockets of stigma and discrimination against those who have or had AIDS.”
He commended the partner communities for spreading information about the disease, dispel misinformation, fear and apprehensions, and helping people to access testing and treating services of NACO.
In 2018-19, the Minister said, around 79 per cent of people living with HIV knew their status, 82 per cent diagnosed with HIV infection were receiving free antiretroviral therapy and 79 per cent were virally suppressed.
He emphasised upon the new steps, being taken to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of ending the epidemic of AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
“The basic target remains that of ‘three zeros’ — zero new infections, zero AIDS-related deaths and zero discrimination,” he said.
In sync with the Ministry’s ‘Digital India’ campaign, the NACO has strengthened monitoring mechanism with more than 35,000 reporting units providing information on IT- enabled system.