Australian High Commissioner to India, John McCarthy, has announced additional funding for HIV/AIDS and drugs prevention in Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur and Mizoram.
The project, "Prevention of Drugs and HIV/AIDS in India" will be implemented by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) with additional funding of USD 330,000, a High Commission release said.
"The Australian Government has committed its aid program in India to preventing drug abuse and HIV/AIDS particularly in the North-East", said McCarthy.
"The main objective of this project is to strengthen the capacity of government and civil society organisations in preventing drug abuse. This will also scale-up interventions that reduce the harmful consequences of drug use, especially HIV", he added.
"The HIV/AIDS epidemic is a serious cause of concern not only in India, but across the world. With this project, Australia hopes to contribute to the efforts of organisations such as the United Nations towards preventing the epidemic," said McCarthy.
The project strategy includes engaging a community and social action to spread awareness among young people about HIV/AIDS. This includes the introduction of drug awareness programs for schools and the establishment of self-help groups for young women affected and afflicted by drug use and HIV.
The Government of Australia has supported UNODC on this project since 2005, with total Australian funding under the project being USD 854,000.
Australia's previous involvement in the North-East region through HIV/AIDS initiatives include the SHALOM project (a three-year long project initiated in Manipur between 1994-97 for the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS); the India-Australia capacity building training project (a series of teaching modules on HIV/AIDS); and the Prevention of transmission of HIV among drug users in SAARC countries project (aimed at strengthening the capacities of State governments and civil society organisations to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS amongst injecting drug users in the SAARC region).