Together We remember, Together We Heal, through Love & Solidarity: State level 41st International AIDS candlelight held

BY | Monday, 20 May, 2024

The State level 41st International AIDS Candlelight memorial on the theme “Together We remember, Together We Heal, through Love & Solidarity” was  held at St. Joseph’s College, Jakhama along with hundreds of students and well wishers under the aegis of Nagaland State AIDS Control Society, organized by NNP+, KNP+, ARK Foundation, FPA India & Red Ribbon Club of St Joseph College.

Lanu, President NNP+ spoke on the significance of International AIDS Candlelight memorial where communities from all around the world come together to honour the lives lost to AIDS, show support for people living with HIV. “The event is unique that it promotes discussion, education and action around HIV/AIDS,” said Lanu.

Speaking on the theme “Together we remember, together we heal, through Love & Solidarity”, Moasangla, Additional Director (GIPA) NSACS emphasized on the importance of doing away with social stigma, but show love, solidarity and compassion. She also urged people with questions and concerns on HIV to dial toll free number 1097 with their doubts and queries.

Vituozolie Kuotsu, District ICTC Supervisor, DISHA/DAPCU presented the latest HIV scenario in Nagaland, and stated that Mizoram, Nagaland and Manipur stands with the highest Adult HIV prevalence respectively in India as per NACO HIV estimation 2022.

Solidarity messages were also delivered by Dr. Sr Ranit, Vice Principal, Academic Affairs SJC(A) who expressed the need to show unwavering support to those living with HIV. “This is a time for solemn reflection and call to action and a beacon of hope. Ever since there has been a tremendous advancement in treatment, education and prevention but the journey is far from over. Millions continue to live with the daily challenges posed by this virus and countless more are affected by the lost of love ones. Their memories fuel our determination to fight for a future free from HIV and AIDS. Our progress thus far has been made possible through the tireless works of scientist, health care professionals, activist and community members. Thanks to their effort. HIV is a no longer a death sentence but a manageable condition. Yet stigma and discrimination persist. Preventing many from seeking the care and support they need. Tonight let us renew our commitment to education and awareness,” said the Vice Principal.

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Speaking on the response to HIV, Ketho Angami, Director ARK Foundation, expressed that the tragedy of people continuing to die of a manageable disease. “Overcoming the barrier of stigma and discrimination is still a challenge. Despite the response, effort and collective response and support,” said Angami who also reflected upon the high incidences of HIV in Nagaland and cautioned the participants to seriously consider the issue.  The goal to reverse and end the AIDS epidemic as per the SDG is 2030, the progress made so far and the scenario of HIV is bleak looking at the situation, viewed Angami.

Prof. Limatemjen, Dean of Sciences, Kohima Science College (A), Jotsoma shared that the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial serves as a poignant reminder of the lives lost to HIV/AIDS and the ongoing challenges in the fight against the epidemic. It embodies the principles of compassion, solidarity, and resilience, uniting communities around the world in a shared mission to end the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS. “As we honor the memory of those we have lost, let us also renew our commitment to building a future where everyone, regardless of HIV status, can live with dignity, equality, and hope,” stated Prof. Limatemjen.

Earlier in the Program, Sister Vitsonino and group presented a special number “In remembrance” and the program was chaired by Ranchenthung, President, RRC, St Joseph college.

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