Emerging leaders, exemplary contributions lauded at Alliance India’s Annual Community Leadership Awards on World AIDS Day 2017

(From L to R): Ms. Jyoti  Mehra, Project Manager, UNODC; Ms. Sonal Mehta, Chief Executive, India HIV/AIDS Alliance and Dr. Bilali Camara, Country Director, UNAIDS commemorating ‘The Annual Community Leadership Awards’ at Central Park, Connaught Place, New Delhi

Dance performances, live band, special sessions on community engagement mark the day

 1st December 2017: World AIDS Day

 New Delhi/NCR, November 30, 2017 : India HIV Aids Alliance today organized the prestigious ‘The Annual Community Leadership Awards’ at Central Park, Connaught Place, New Delhi to commemorate World AIDS Day on the theme of 2017, ‘Increasing Impact through “Transparency, Accountability, and Partnerships”. The activities celebrated, recognised and felicitated change-makers and leaders working on HIV epidemic from communities most affected and living with HIV. The highlights of the event were a visual exhibition tracing the journey of the campaign against HIV and critical milestones achieved in India, scintillating performances by community groups and talk sessions. In the Individual Award category, six distinguished emerging leaders namely Geethanjali Amalrani A, Garudadhwaja Mohapatra, Raveena Bariha, P Pooja, Neuniwanda Enity Pakma, Chinmay Modi, Varsha Newaskar were felicitated along with Network Of Maharashtra by People Living With HIV/AIDS (NMP+), a community based  organization for their commendable contribution in the fight against AIDS.

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The event was attended by well-known public figures and icons including Laxminarayan Tripathi, Noori Saleem and B. Sekar from the community along with Sanjeeva Kumar, Additional Secretary, NACO and Dr. K.S. Sachdeva, DDG, NACO from the realm of government and Dr. Bilali Camara, Country Director, UNAIDS. The welcome performance was by the live band followed by dance performance by the Dancing Queens and Bhangra performance by the Punjab group. There were four special sessions on community engagement and HIV response in which the key speakers included Vijay Nair, MSM activist from India HIV/AIDS Alliance,  Kusum from All India Network of Sex Workers, Prashant Singh from Drug Users Forum, Naresh Yadav from NCPI+ and Daxa Patel of the GSNP+. The performances paid melodious tributes to all those who had worked tirelessly to strengthen the nation’s response to HIV over the past years.

Sonal Mehta, Chief Executive, India HIV/AIDS Alliance, said, “One of the reasons that India has had success with its HIV control programme is because the leadership seen from those who have been directly affected by HIV. Community participation and enthusiasm is the driving force in successfully fighting the HIV epidemic. The achievements and legacy of the leaders who have made a difference and contributed to the changing landscape of the HIV battle in India must be recognized and respected. The Annual Community Leadership Awards is India HIV/AIDS Alliance’s way of acknowledging the hard work, resilience and advocacy of the leaders.”

According to the UNAIDS, there are currently 36.7 million people living with HIV worldwide, and in 2016, 1 million people died from HIV-related causes. World AIDS Day is observed as an opportunity to unite people in the fight against HIV. India has made some remarkable progress in addressing the HIV epidemic. Not only has the country been able to substantially reduce the incidence of HIV, it has also been successful in providing universal treatment and care to those living with HIV – dramatically decreasing HIV related morbidity and mortality. Reduction in political will or investment can lead to losing out on the gains made in last three decades. Collective action by the National AIDS Control Organization, civil society, academia and international bodies have made the progress against this epidemic substantially. In 2017, the World AIDS Day calls for increasing programme and advocacy impact through strategic partnerships, transparency and accountability in interventions to bring about radical and far-reaching changes within the space.

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