Manipur, like the rest of the world observed “World AIDS Day” today under the theme “Getting to Zero” with the main function being held at the 1MR Ground organized by the Manipur State AIDS Control Society (MACS) with Chief Minister O Ibobi as the Chief Guest. Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister stressed the importance given by the government to the continuing menace of HIV/AIDS in the state. He also disclosed that the state government is planning to equip CHCs and PHCs in the state with free HIV/AIDS testing facilities as well as to set up ART centers with special emphasis on the centers located in the hill areas, while reiterating the broadening benefits made possible by the revision of the Manipur State AIDS Prevention and Control Policy, making each and every afflicted individual under the BPL and APL category to avail of the various facilities and assistances which were earlier given only to the BPL families. Highlighting the award secured by the state for having the lowest infant mortality rate and also the very high standard of arts and culture, not to mention the dominating position of Manipur in sports in the country, the Chief Minister emphasized on the improving scenario with no new recorded case of infection or death from HIV/AIDS for the last three years in Manipur as well as the absence of discrimination of infected persons while lamenting the fact that the percentage of infected individuals is still one of the highest in the country. He further voiced the need for a concerted effort of the NGOs, CSOs, individuals as well as the implementing bodies to fight the menace, while lauding the efforts of MACS in raising awareness and mitigating the problem. Phunzathang Tonsing, Minister for Health and Family Welfare, in his Presidential speech states that the percentage of infection has climbed down but Getting to Zero will still remain a big challenge in the state. He also points out that the prevalence rate of infection amongst pregnant women still remain worryingly high and the main routes of infection are the injecting drug users and sexual route. The Chief Minister inaugurated a Voluntary Blood Donation Camp as part of the observation and awards were distributed to six outstanding doctors working in the field. A rally comprising of participants from thirtynine contingents representing various NGOs of the state was also taken out from Chingamathak Hao Ground till the 1MR Parade ground.