HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: The 26th World AIDS Day was marked by organising various awareness raising programmes across the country, today.
The theme of the day is: ‘Getting to zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths’.
The National Centre for AIDS and STD Control (NCASC) organised AIDS Mela at Basantapur Durbar Square with a view to uniting people in the fight against HIV and to commemorate those the world has lost to AIDS.
The main features of AIDS Mela were free and confidential HIV testing, live musical performances by Nima Rumba and 1974 AD, blood donation, local handmade products on sale, dance performances and fashion show by Federation of Sexual and Gender Minorities, Know Your Right stalls, face painting and candlelight vigil, among others.
About 6,300 people contract HIV/AIDS -- about 262 every hour every day, informed the United Nations.
According to NCASC estimates, about four people get infected with HIV in Nepal every day.
While 1,284 people were diagnosed with HIV last year, there is no exact figure of deaths caused by AIDS, officials said.
“The government might also be blaming AIDS for the deaths of HIV infected people who might have actually died of other diseases,” an official informed.
Around 48,600 people were living with HIV/AIDS in the country as of last month.
The government-run campaign, in association with partner agencies, aims to advance global progress in achieving the target set for access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support; and to halt and reverse the spread of HIV and to contribute to the achievement of Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
In 2012, there were 35.5 million HIV infected people in the world. Since 1981, around 75 million people have been affected by the virus.
HIV prevalence rate in the age group 15-49 (productive age) has dropped to 0.28 per cent in Nepal.
The first HIV infection was detected in 1988 in Nepal. The key affected population with the highest HIV burden in Nepal are drug addicts, sex workers and their clients, transgender population, homosexual men, and migrants and mobile population.
According to NCASC, Nepal is among 56 countries in the world which has succeeded in containing the HIV infection.