Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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World AIDS Day: A call to action

Drug and HIV response in the last three decades in Nagaland has taught us that communities play a critical role in the catalysing change. As we mark this year’s World AIDS Day with the theme “Communities Lead”, we need to harness the power of communities to end HIV by 2030.
While acknowledging the contribution made by the State Government, NACO/NSACS, PEPFAR (United State Government) and all the development partners for rendering their help and extending a robust partnership and played critical role with various intervention; harm reduction, testing and treatment, advocacy, capacity building, technical assistance and innovation program. However HIV prevalence and new infection of our state remain a concern on the ground and we look forward to continued support.
It is hoped that ongoing efforts to harness political support for the introduction of public health oriented policies. State Government should revisit and amend the Nagaland HIV/AIDS Policy, and Nagaland State Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Policy, with full compliance to the HIV/AIDS Act 2017, national guidelines, human rights standards and norms, provide budgetary support for implementation of the said policies.
Key population communities leaders are sensitive to the fact that resources are limited and tied to very specific agendas, however for greater impetus to the HIV response, advancing progress towards the end of AIDS , its need adequate funds; scale up intervention and programs, compliance with fundamental rights and respect of human dignity.
Community leadership engagement needs to be fully supported and their full potential be unleashed for HIV prevention, testing and treatment. Build their capacity in governance, leadership development, program management etc. A wide range of support from all key stakeholders are required, recognizing the need to facilitate in the process of defining actual needs, by tapping communities’ experience and knowledge, customised local need-based services for effective intervention. Key population communities stand ready to play their part (to lead), but need our support in building healthier and more resilient society.
Abou Mere
President, NNagaDAO, and Director, Kripa Foundation Nagaland