In an attempt to increase public awareness about AIDS/HIV in Bihar, which is posing a major threat to millions across the state, Bihar's politicians have decided to launch an awareness drive.
Alarmed by the rising numbers of HIV/AIDS cases in the state, politicians, cutting across party line, have decided to join in the campaign.
Uday Narayan Choudhary, the state assembly speaker said: 'It was a matter of serious concern for us that graphs of HIV/AIDS cases are rising like never before.' He said that members of the state legislative assembly and state legislative council would meet on May 24 to discuss and debate on ways to check its spread.
The meet will also be attended by a representative of the UN, apart from Oscar Fernandes, convenor of the AIDS control committee of parliament.
Choudhary said that awareness is the key weapon to fight AIDS as it will not only check its spread but also counter the social stigma attached to the disease in India.
The presence of hundreds of migrant workers and an open border with Nepal are some of the factors that contribute to the rising cases of HIV/AIDS in Bihar, said an official.
'There are 8,128 identified cases of HIV and 1,070 known cases of AIDS till March this year and 70 persons, including 13 children, have died of AIDS in the state,' said an official with the Bihar State Aids Control Society (BSACS).
However, unconfirmed sources say that HIV positive cases are not fewer than 40,000 in the state and over 100 people have died from AIDS.
Experts warned that the disease would spread like an epidemic if not checked in time. According to official figures, there were just 192 cases in 2001 but the number jumped to over 2,000 by the end of 2002 and to 2,500 by the end of May 2003. In the next two years it crossed the 10,000 mark.