GUWAHATI, June 16 – Homosexuality, which so far was a less discussed issue in the State, is becoming more visible with 50 gays diagnosed as HIV positive till April this year. Though Assam is a low focused State as far as the HIV/AIDS menace is concerned, it is in a highly vulnerable position with high focused States like Manipur as neighbours.
It needs to be mentioned here that the Assam State Aids Control Society has estimated the number of homosexual men affected with HIV at 1300. “In Assam, gay activities, which were less visible until a few years back, have been increasing,” said Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma before mediapersons.
Sarma said the government is concentrating on strengthening public awareness on the major health hazard and is particularly targeting the youth of rural and semi-urban areas with less access to information.
“During the days when the Red Ribbon Express will touch different stations in the State, we will try to bring maximum people to the train to get information, counselling and to get tested,” said Sarma.
The Red Ribbon Express Project, largest campaign in the country against HIV/AIDS which is in its second phase, will this time provide information on swine flu also to the general public. This eight-coach exhibition-cum-education train will reach Fakiragram station tomorrow and its final destination will be New Tinsukia Station on July 5.