DARJEELING & GANGTOK, September 19: While Sikkim is grappling with a rising number of HIV/AIDS persons, the neighouring hill region of Darjeeling is also witnessing a surge in the number of persons infected with the dreaded disease.
Latest official figures point out that around 279 persons in Darjeeling hilly region have been infected with HIV/AIDS disease, a bitter offshoot of a disintegrating society here.
Informed people are at a loss as how to stem the rot and convince the people of rural areas are still rooted to traditional beliefs and taboos. Despite such odds, NGOs here like Sankar Foundation are working to spread awareness among the people besides providing for the medical care of the infected persons.
The Sankar Foundation has been sensitizing the people from rural areas with public awareness programmes besides hosting training camps for persons interested to work in this field. A similar training camp of five days concluded today here with focus on creating a strong awareness among the people about the dreaded diseases.
During the training, the participants were trained how to provide support and to sensitize the infected persons on their rights, said the NGO secretary Sankar Mani Rai.
Mr. Rai said that 6,500 persons have done their blood tests till now at Darjeeling under Integrated Counseling Testing Centre from 2002.