On his second day in Mizoram, United States Ambassador to India Mr. Kenneth I. Juster visits SHALOM (Society for HIV/AIDS and Lifeline Operation in Mizoram) at Lower Zarkawt, Aizawl. He was briefed by SHALOM Chairman Mr. R. Lalmalsawma, SHALOM CEO Dr. Chawnghmingliana, Dr. Melissa Nyendak ( Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)), National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO)-Targeted intervention (TI) Deputy Director, Dr. Bhawani Singh and Mizoram State AIDS Control Society (MSACS) Project Director Dr. Lalthlengliani on the status of HIV/AIDS prevalence in the state as well as various on-going programmes for HIV/AIDS prevention. The Ambassador also met people infected with HIV/AIDS to hear out their struggles and their achievements after intervention by SHALOM. Established in 1997, SHALOM is an NGO run charity working for HIV/AIDS prevention, Human Rights and Women's Development & Empowerment. HIV/AIDS programmes under SHALOM includes Prison and Adolescent intervention, HIV+ Care and Support program, Substance Abuse Prevention, Sexual & Reproductive Health programme. SHALOM has worked with Mizoram State AIDS Control Society, Social Welfare Department, YRG Care Chennai, EFICOR, New Delhi and TEAR Australia, World Renew N. America. Project Sunrise which is a project concerning HIV and drug abuse funded by U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is currently implemented by SHALOM.
Later, Mr. Kenneth I. Juster met church leaders at Synod Office, Mission Veng where they talked about the importance of church in Mizoram, the status of Presbyterian church and problems faced by minorities in India. These church leaders includes Mizoram Synod Moderator, Rev. R. Lalhmingthanga, Synod Senior Executive Secretary Rev. Lianhmingthanga Sailo,Executive Secretary Rev. B. Sangthanga, Finance Officer Rev. Lalramliana Pachuau and others. Mizoram Synod is the administrative body of the largest denomination in Mizoram i.e Presbyterian Church. The US Ambassador also met officials from Excise & Narcotics Department at Khatla, Aizawl where he was briefed on the working of the department in seizing drugs substances across the borders. Department Officials expressed the vulnerable situation of Mizoram due to close proximity with Golden Triangle in South-East Asia. The US Ambassador encourages their commitment to reduce drugs substances and also applauded their performance.
The US Ambassador was accompanied by U.S. Consul General, Kolkata Ms. Patti Hoffman, Public Affairs Officer Mr. Jamie Dragon and Assistant Public Affairs Officer Mr. Jay Treloar. They will be leaving Mizoram in the afternoon.
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