CANA seeks to spread HIV/AIDS awareness among youth

Published 12 February 2011  |  
The Christian AIDS/HIV National Alliance (CANA) is organising a painting and essay competition to create awareness on HIV and AIDS among teens and young adults in India.

Participants from churches, mission agencies and Christian-owned schools have been invited to take part in the National AIDS Awareness Spot Painting and Essay Competition (NAASPEC) for which the theme is 'My response to a person living with HIV and AIDS'.

"We are all aware that HIV and AIDS has made a devastating effect in India over two decades. Each day hundreds of new infections, hundreds of new orphans, hundreds of widows are continuously added to this society. At the same time for many, HIV and AIDS is a mystery and myth. Many still view it with ignorance. Hence through this NAASPEC campaign we hope to create awareness and dispel many wrong notions," says S Samraj, Executive Director of CANA.

Besides creating awareness through this, the event vies to raise support for AIDS orphans and positive children and also equip church and church-based agencies with information on HIV/AIDS as a process to educate others and care for those who are infected and affected by the disease.

CANA is encouraging churches to hold the spot painting and essay competition in their own premises in a decentralised manner at their convenient date. The final date for entries is extended to April 25 to cater the demands of many Churches, after when a national panel will be instituted at Delhi for the selection of winners.

A suggested time of 2-3 hrs will be given to each child to complete the painting or essay which will be held under the supervision of the organising agency. The essay is to be written in English or Hindi in not more than 300 words.

The event is being organised in partnership with Help a Child, India Mission Association and Scripture Union and Children's Special Service Mission.

According to the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), close to 70,000 children in India are infected with HIV and AIDS. UNICEF says, "The impacts of the AIDS crisis have not begun to emerge fully in India, and AIDS-related orphaning is not yet occurring at a large scale. Yet, India has the largest number of AIDS orphans of any country in the world."

The current HIV/AIDS programmes are reaching only 15% of young people and 17% of high-risk groups such as sex workers. Only less than one quarter of young people have accurate information on how to protect themselves from HIV.

CANA, as a network of churches, church-based agencies and Christian practitioners, have worked to help combat the spread of HIV/AIDS by generating awareness and advocating for policies and programs with Christian perspectives and Biblical mandate.

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