Aizawl: US ambassador to India Kenneth I Juster on Friday said massive efforts must be made to fight HIV/AIDS in Mizoram.
Juster, who arrived in Aizawl on Thursday evening, paid a visit to Society for HIV/AIDS and Lifeline Operation in Mizoram (SHALOM), a de-addiction centre at Aizawl’s Zarkawt locality where he interacted with people living with HIV positive.
Juster said that massive efforts should be made to reduce the high prevalence of AIDS in the state. He was briefed by SHALOM chairman R. Lalmalsawma about the present status of HIV prevalence in the state.
Established in 1997, SHALOM is an NGO run charity working for HIV/AIDS prevention, human rights and women’s development and empowerment.
It has been collaborated with Mizoram State AIDS Control Society (MSACS), state social welfare department, YRG Care Chennai, EFICOR, New Delhi and TEAR Australia, World Renew N. America. The centre is funded by the US.
Mizoram is currently known as the highest HIV prevalence state in the country. Since 1990, when the first HIV case was detected in the state, more than 18,000 people have been found with HIV positive.
After visiting the centre, Juster also called on church leaders at synod office here where he discussed with them a wide range of issue related to ministry, the status of Presbyterian church and problems faced by Christian minorities in the country.
He lauded the church leaders for their performance and commitment towards reduction of drugs and substance abuse.
The visiting ambassador also called on Chief Minister Zoramthanga at his bungalow on Thursday night. The duo discussed about state policies and possible areas of cooperation especially in road infrastructure and health care.
In his maiden visit to the hilly state, Juster was accompanied by US Consul General, Kolkata Patti Hoffman, public affairs officer Jamie Dragon and assistant public affairs officer Jay Treloar.