President of India unites for children
30 October 2007
The Indian President, Pratibha Patil met representatives from UNAIDS, UNICEF, HIV positive networks and government officials in New Delhi to mark the second anniversary of the UNICEF/UNAIDS Unite for Children, Unite Against AIDS campaign. The President of India pledged her full support to the campaign and to addressing myths and misconceptions around HIV that are driving stigma and discrimination.
“Raising awareness is the key to fight the stigma and discrimination faced by the HIV positive people especially women and children,” President Patil said.
As part of the event, children and their mothers living with HIV shared their life experiences with The President. President Patil also met with peer educators who presented her with artwork of their messages on stigma and discrimination.
Anand*, a child living with HIV presented Suraksha Bandhan (a blue and red band in which the blue colour represents children and red represents AIDS) to President Patil as a sign of solidarity in the response to AIDS.
Unite for Children Unite Against AIDS is the largest campaign mounted to bring the world’s attention to the global impact of AIDS on children and young people. It also recognizes and addresses the needs of their caregivers. It offers urgent and specific interventions and calls to action. Launched in October 2005, UNICEF and UNAIDS are leading the initiative along with partners from all sectors of society, including governments, NGOs, academic institutions, faith-based groups, community groups and youth and sporting organizations.
Speaking on the occasion of the meeting with the President of India, Dr Dennis Broun, UNAIDS Country Coordinator for India, said that “since its launch two years ago, the campaign has transformed the lives of thousands of children and their families.”
“Great progress has been achieved on prevention and early detection of HIV infection in children, access to care and treatment and the fight against discrimination, notably in schools. Many famous personalities have supported this fight and their engagement has been crucial. There is more to be done and the whole UN family will continue to respond to AIDS in India,” he said.
The number of people living with HIV in India is estimated to be 2.0- 3.1 million. Some 70,000 children below the age of 15 are estimated to be living with HIV in the country.
Visit the Unite for Children Unite Against AIDS web site
Visit the UNAIDS India web site