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New Delhi, Jan 11 Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad will launch the National AIDS Control Organization’s Red Ribbon Express Phase III on January 12, 2012 while optimizing on the theme of National Youth Day.

This time the renewed focus of the Red Ribbon Project is on youth. The specially designed RRE will be flagged off on 12th January, 2012 from Delhi and during its year long journey across 23 states, it will cover 162 halt stations.

It has three exhibition coaches with exhibits on HIV and AIDS while the fourth exhibition coach on National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) has exhibits on Tuberculosis, Malaria, Reproductive and Child Health services, general health and hygiene.

There is one coach also on counseling and another one for conducting trainings of local stakeholders such as members of Panchayati Raj Institutions, self help groups, health workers, youth organizations, teachers, police personnel etc.

Those who are not able to come to the train will be reached through the exhibitions in IEC vans and folk troupes which will travel in the periphery of the districts through which the train will pass.

The RRE Phase III Project will continue to focus on rural and difficult to reach areas with an objective of disseminating the information regarding primary prevention services, developing an understanding about the infection to reduce the stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS and strengthening people’s knowledge while focusing on youth, in particular, about the measures to be taken to prevent HIV/AIDS to adopt preventive health behavior.

The On- Board planned Activities include Interactive Exhibition carrying messages on Health, HIV and AIDS; Sensitization and training on Health, HIV and AIDS; Counseling and testing facilities; General health check up, STI treatment and referral service and Adolescent/ youth friendly Reproductive and Sexual Health information.

The Planned Outreach Activities will have Red Ribbon Buses carrying a portable version of train exhibition; Counseling and testing services; Condom demonstration stalls as also Inter Personal Communication via local folk media.

The Red Ribbon Express Train was first launched on the World AIDS Day in 2007. The Project has since evolved into being the largest multi-media and multi-sectoral mass mobilization project. This innovative initiative has been commended globally as a unique example of its kind in various forums. In the IInd phase of 2009, the Red Ribbon Express had reached out to more than 8 million people touching 153 stations and a distance of 27,000 kilometers.