Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu inaugurated the State Level Marathon (Red Run) today from the Ridge Shimla to create awareness in the society about dreaded disease of AIDS, in which 66 youth of different categories of both boys and girls from seven districts of the State participated. The Chief Minister also inaugurated a blood donation camp.
During his address, the Chief Minister extended his warm wishes to all the participants in the marathon and underscored the importance of accurate information in the fight against AIDS. He said that there has been a significant shift in the societal dialogue around AIDS, as there was a time when AIDS was a topic shrouded in social stigma but it is openly discussed in present.
The Chief Minister said that there are currently 5,300 AIDS patients in Himachal Pradesh and the state government is committed to provide them free medical treatment and support. He said that the government has established a dedicated 1097 helpline to address the queries of young individuals regarding AIDS. Furthermore, the state offers free testing and counseling services through 55 integrated testing and counseling centers, along with two dedicated ITC vehicles situated across different districts. The Chief Minister emphasized the role of social media in disseminating AIDS awareness throughout society.
Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu also said that policies and schemes are being prepared with their well-being in mind. He said that Himachal Pradesh has suffered extensive damage during the recent monsoon and it will take time to recover from the devastation. The state is committed to aid affected families, allocating a special package of Rs. 4500 crore for disaster relief efforts, he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Health Minister Dr. (Col.) Dhani Ram Shandil emphasized the pivotal role of young people in dispelling misconceptions and confusion about AIDS. He said that state government is committed to provide various forms of assistance to AIDS patients, including free testing and treatment.
A vibrant cultural program was also presented on the occasion.
On the occasion, Chief Parliamentary Secretary Sanjay Awasthy, MLA Harish Janartha, Principal Advisor to Chief Minister (Media) Naresh Chauhan, Mayor Surendra Chauhan, Deputy Mayor Uma Kaushal, OSD to Chief Minister Gopal Sharma and Ritesh Kapret, HPSIDC Vice President Vishal Chambiyal, Secretary Health M. Sudha Devi, Project Director HP State AIDS Control Society and Director Information and Public Relations Department Rajiv Kumar, Deputy Commissioner Aditya Negi and SP Sanjeev Gandhi and other dignitaries were present.