Aizawl: The United Nations (UN) will support Mizoram in prevention of HIV/AIDS and in management of prisons in the northeastern state, an official said here Thursday.
Cristina Albertin, representative of the New Delhi-based United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime - Regional Office for South Asia (UNODC-ROSA), made the announcement while addressing a week-long training-cum-brain storming session which began Thursday.
The session, inaugurated by Mizoram Home Minister R. Lalzirliana, is aimed at improving skills of jailors, inmates and health workers to deal with HIV/AIDS patients, fellow inmates and vulnerable citizens.
Albertin said complex issues such as anti-retroviral therapy (ART) treatment and counselling for HIV/AIDS patients should be focused upon, and the training will be beneficial to treat the inmates affected by the killer disease and be accepted in the normal society.
She also said, "Northeast has been facing problems of smuggling of drugs through the Golden Triangle and often Mizoram territory has been used as corridors."
The Golden Triangle is one of Asia`s two main illicit opium-producing areas and covers an area of around 950,000 km overlapping the mountains of four countries of Southeast Asia -- Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.
The Mizoram home minister said that a remote state like Mizoram now faces problems of deadly diseases like HIV/AIDS and cancer, which are spreading despite efforts taken by the government.
"Prison should not be a place of punishment but of reformation. Prisons in Mizoram should be clean and comparable with prisons in developed countries," the minister said and welcomed the UNODC steps taken for prevention of HIV/AIDS in Mizoram.
With an average of 100 fresh cases of HIV detected every month, the Mizoram State AIDS Control Society (MSACS) has stated that the AIDS scenario in the state is "disturbing" after Manipur, where the situation is "very alarming".
According to the MSACS, 4,721 people have been tested HIV positive so far since the first case was detected in 1990, from 112,438 blood samples.
"Of the 462 AIDS cases in Mizoram, 171 people, including 72 women, died during the last 20 years," an official of the MSACS said.