As part of observing World AIDS Day on December 1, World Vision India organized a campaign to raise awareness about the rights of people infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.
The campaign involved a float carrying awareness messages and stories of people living positive lives in spite of HIV.
"The stories were of their lives, their struggles and their dreams for their future. Through these stories, the message that there is life beyond HIV was conveyed," World Vision, an international Christian relief and development agency, stated.
The float, which was launched in Chennai in southern India, traveled through popular places urging people to uphold the dignity of people living with HIV and not to discriminate against them.
"There was an overwhelming response from people who were keen to learn on people living with HIV. They enthusiastically pledged their support to 'Let them live their Rights.' The event was aired on Radiocity FM," World Vision reported.
An estimated 2.5 million people are living with HIV and AIDS in India and more than 70,000 of them are children. India is home to the third largest number of people living with HIV in the world.
World Vision has been involved in raising awareness on the issue of HIV/AIDS, with a special focus on HIV prevention, care and advocacy interventions in districts with high prevalence since 1991.
Globally, according to the relief and development organization, the HIV epidemic has stabilized, with annual numbers of deaths declining from 2.2 million in 2004 to 2 million in 2008. While the HIV infection rate remains high, the epidemic is not worsening. With fewer people dying from AIDS now than they were 10 years ago, more people are living with HIV today.
Around 2.7 million new HIV infections occur each year. According to the UNAIDS Annual Report 2009, 33.4 million people are still living with HIV.
Presently in India, there are 14 special projects on HIV/AIDS, located in high-prevalence states and districts, while many Area Development Programs continue to provide care services to people living with HIV.
Special programs in Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai-Thane, Kolkata, Aizawl, Goa and Jaipur have successfully pioneered HIV and AIDS work among vulnerable populations including sex workers, drug users, truck drivers and adolescent children.
Every year on Dec. 1, the global community celebrates World Aids Day by spreading awareness and stepping up efforts to prevent HIV and AIDS.
The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) last month launched the "Light a Lamp – Pledge for Rights" campaign encouraging churches and Christian institutions to organize prayer meetings and community gatherings and to light lamps on World Aids Day.