Dimapur: Action at community level for ending HIV & AIDS

Morung express News
Dimapur | December 1

The UN goal has been to curb or end HIV & AIDS by 2030. But achieving the global goal would require action at the local community level, said Neiba Kesiezie, General Secretary, Dimapur District GB Association speaking at a World AIDS Day commemoration event organised by the District AIDS Prevention & Control Unit (DAPCU), Dimapur, in the District Hospital complex. According to the DAPCU, The programme was conducted in collaboration with communities, targeted intervention NGOs and development partners, supported by Nagaland AIDS Day Control Society.

As implied by the theme for 2023, Let Communities Lead, Kesiezie said that the eradication goal demands innovative ideas based on local needs and in tandem with close community participation, including the churches, tribal bodies and NGOs. Terming government intervention just as indispensable, he appealed the government fpr formulating policies that align with the grassroots initiatives

While awareness campaigns exist, he asked whether the information extended is spreading beyond the people who attend the programmes. Are we sharing the insights acquired with our neighbours and family,” he asked. According to him, HIV & AIDS is a shared responsibility that transcends individual boundaries.  

Kesiezie, who is also the general secretary of the Nagaland Users Network, said that as a former user, he cannot distance himself from those who are still struggling with substance abuse. According to him, his objective and intention has been to engage and help them get off the habit. 

Recalling Nagaland's journey with HIV & AIDs, since the detection of the first case in 1989, he said that the first case was from the drug-using community.  In the initial years, he recalled that half of the HIV cases were linked to drug abuse, while reluctance to seek help developed. But those who did come out, paved the way for more and whose courageous step are bearing fruit today, he said. 

The event also saw the Naga Women Hoho Dimapur extending solidarity. “Let our actions speak louder than words. We are there to support, we may not be able to do big things but our solidarity is always with you,” President, Duoneinuo Kire said. With the advancement in medical science, treatment has become manageable but she cited stigma and social acceptance as bigger hurdle. Breaking down the stigma would require propagation of accurate information, understanding the reality and being compassionate, she said.      

Three members of the PLHIV community shared their experiences, the contempt they came across, how they coped and how they found help.