Himachal Pradesh government on Monday launched nutrition scheme for children affected by HIV under which they would be provided nutritional supplement.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur launched nutrition scheme on Monday during a state level awareness campaign which was organised by HP State AIDS Control Society on the occasion of National Youth Day.

Thakur said the initiative would go a long way providing nutritional supplement and it would boost immunity of around 400 youth up to 18 years of age, who had been tested positive for HIV.

“The government would also provide every possible support to these children to enable them living a normal and healthy life,” he said.

He said that the state government has also taken another important decision to make it mandatory for every expectant mother to go for HIV test from this year so that in case any mother is HIV-positive, the virus did not pass to the baby.

Expressing concern over the rise in number of cases of AIDS, which at present were around 5,700 in the state, he said there is need for massive awareness about this disease up to the village level.

The NGOs and individuals would have to come forward in supplementing the efforts of the health department in making every citizen aware about HIV.

In addition, awareness campaign should be intensified in schools and colleges besides giving special focus on organising skits, street shows, which were effective mode of communication amongst the common masses, he said.