United Nations has come forward to help Jammu and Kashmir state combat HIV/AIDS under the aegis of its wing United Nations Office of Drug and Crime (UNODC).
The bizarre rise in HIV/AIDS numbers in Jammu and Kashmir, the globally known 'tourist destination', has attracted the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to take up the task in its hand to tackle the problems of IV Drug Users who are also carriers of HIV/AIDS.
Thus UNDOC roped in an NGO, J&K Society for Promotion of Youth and Masses (JKSPYM), presently situated at Purkhoo for this noble cause, which already has been associated with the campaign against HIV/AIDS in the state.
J&K Society for Promotion of Youth and Masses, an NGO popularly known as Mashwara established a drug-deadditicion camp at Gandhinagar under a United Nations sponsored health project called 'Drop in Centre cum drug de-addiction camp'.
Project Incharge Rakesh Thakur while talking to HT in Jammu on Monday said we feel privileged that we are cooperating with United Nations to eradicate not only HIV/AIDS but also associated crime committed by the drug users.
This project envisages the 'United Nations Office of Drug and Crime (UNODC) commitment to provide a better world to the humans particularly putting a check on the factors spreading the menace of HIV and other related infections among drug users and their sexual partners'.
To a question about the response of people to the 'Drop in Centre', he with sheer optimism said that though we have space constraints in this area, we have received an encouraging response as 13 addicts have been admitted in this camp for their treatment. Of these five are IV drug users and all the addicts are determined to come over this evil habit. They only need emotional support and necessary counseling, he said.
Thakur said that "the rate of sharing injecting equipment remained as high as 50 per cent in the South East Asia region though in India the records show a less number of 2.34 per cent HIV/AIDS patients. The malaise could even endanger the Indian populace more drastically because of poor infrastructure and low literacy rate with male dominance in the society," he said. He informed that about over 200 drug users have been recorded by his NGO during preliminary survey in Jammu city only while many at an average of six-eight years had come to the de-addiction centre of the NGO.
Meanwhile Younus Amin, a social worker and counsellor in this camp, also said that the primary objective of this regional project is to foster a concerted approach to drug use and HIV/AIDS epitomised by an integrated and comprehensive strategy for drug demand reduction with specific elements for the reduction of drug related harm.
He said that the social myth and low economy in the region has let the Indians more vulnerable to the HIV virus.
Email Sanjay Khajuria: sanjaykhajuria @gmail.com