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Manipur boasts of a legendary HIV positive bodybuilder
Despite being HIV positive, Khundrakpam Pradipkumar of Manipur has won laurels in body building sport for his state. He is also taking part in the next Mr. Universe contest, but ironically the state government has failed to provide a responsible government job to him.

HIS JOURNEY from a blood CD4 count as low as 16 in February 2000 to being a gold medalist in the 9th Mister South Asia Body Building Championship 2012, held in Ludhiana is indeed a message to the millions of people living with HIV that ‘being HIV positive is not the end of the world’.

Besides his courage and endeavour, success of Manipur’s Khundrakpam Pradipkumar may be attributed to the strict adherence to Ante-retroviral Therapy (ART), which he has been receiving since 2000. Thanks to rapid strides in medical breakthroughs, his CD4 count by July-August 2007 reached 367. He is a member of the Manipur Network of Positive People, an ART recipient and an inspiration among the fellow HIV positives of the state.

Crowned as Mr. Manipur in December 2007, Pradipkumar won silver medal in the Mr. India contest held in April 2010. Pradipkumar also secured 8th position in the last Mr. World contest held in Russia in June 2012. He will also be participating in the next Mr. Universe contest.

Born to Kalachand Singh and Mema Devi at Sagolband Khamnam Leirak, Imphal West district (Manipur) in 1971, Pradipkumar started using drugs at the age of 13. Before introducing to injecting heroin (no. 4), he used to take tranquilizers, cough syrups, popping pills etc. with his company.

Even during his drugging period, Pradipkumar won 3rd position in 1985 and 1st 1987 in state level body building competitions. In 1987, Pradipkumar went to Orissa for higher studies where he started using Brown sugar. After graduation in Mathematics from Utkal University Orissa, Pradipkumar became a regular Injecting Drug user by 1992-93.

In 2000, he started suffering from severe throat pain, leading him to undergo TB treatment at a hospital in Imphal. Soon, he was diagnosed with HIV. With his CD4 count falling to a mere 16, he started receiving ART (Ante-Retroviral Treatment) in April same year with his own expenses. Gradually with the treatment, his health improved. In 2003, he started visiting the Gymnasium.

Earlier in 1985, he secured 3rd position in the State Wrestling Competition of Rural Sport Meet in Bishnupur District of Manipur. Again won 1st Position in State Level Power Lifting Championship in Imphal in 1987. Pradipkumar got 2nd Position in Senior Mr. Manipur Contest (60Kg. Category) at Imphal in 2006 and 1st Position in Senior Mr. Manipur Contest (60Kg. Category) next year.

After this great accomplishment, the brave and courageous bachelor disclosed his HIV status through the media and came out openly with a challenge to fight against HIV/AIDS by inspiring the millions of HIV positives in the world. He also took part in the Mr. India contest in March 2008 with encouragements and inspiration from various circles the world over. Now, it is indeed good news to to HIV affected people throughout the globe that Pradipkumar has won gold medal in the 9th Mister South Asia Body Building Championships 2012.

The Manipur State AIDS Control Society appointed him as the first Brand Ambassador for HIV/AIDS in the state in 2007. He has been playing a leading role in spreading HIV/AIDS messages to people, particularly the PLHAs to motivate them to ‘live and achieve’ even with HIV in them.

Manipur, a northeastern state sharing a long 350 km border with Myanmar is a high HIV prevalent state. The HIV prevalence among ANC attendees in 2007 stood at 1.3 per cent. Out of around 24 lakh population of the state, 40000 people are estimated to be living with HIV. Drug addition was rampant in the state during the early 90s. Many youths have died of AIDS unaware and unreported.

Manipur’s proximity with the Golden Triangle has fueled the onslaught of the epidemic. Even now, the ethnic composition, topographical features, law and order situation and communal flare-ups make it difficult to effectively implement HIV/AIDS control programme in Manipur. In spite of all hurdles, the state has accomplished various feats from reducing stigma and discrimination to treatment of HIV patients. In such a scenario, Mr. Manipur Pradipkumar has braved the challenges and proved a real success against HIV/AIDS.

Unfortunately, the state government has failed to provide a regular and responsible job to this man, in spite of assurances.

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