Manipur state AIDS Control Society has accorded the title of Brand Ambassador of HIV/AIDS to Mr. Khundrakpam Pradipkumar, recently crowned Mr. Manipur (60 kg wt), who has been living with HIV for over a decade now. He has also been selected among the six finalists in the Mr. India contest held in Meerut (UP) in last week of March. His mission as an Ambassador is to take 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.
The formal announcement was made by Ph. Parijat Singh, Minister of Health and Family Welfare and Vice-Chairman SACS in a function held at the Manipur SACS on 17th March 2008. The Minister also assured to support the expenses for his travel and stay during the Mr. India Contest in Meerut (UP). Dr. Irengbam Ibohalbi Singh, MLA and Secretary of Manipur Legislative Forum on AIDS presided over the function. The Chief guest presented the Brand Ambassador’s memento to Pradipkumar.
Pradipkumar’s journey from a CD4 count as low as 16 in February 2000 to being crowned the best body builder of the state in his category in 2007 is indeed a message to the thousands of PLHAs in the state that ‘being HIV positive is not the end of the world’. Besides his courage and endeavour, Pradipkumar’s success is attributed to the invention of Ante- retroviral Therapy (ART) which he has been receiving since 2000. His CD4 count by July-August 2007 reached 367. He is a member of the MNP+, an enrolled client at ART centre RIMS and an inspiration among the fellow HIV positives of the state.
Born to Kalachand Singh and Mema Devi at Sagolband Khamnam Leirak, Imphal West district (Manipur), 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, Pradip won 3rd position in 1985 and 1st 1987 in state level competitions. In 1987, Pradipkumar went to Orissa for higher studies where he started using Brown sugar. After graduation in Mathmetics 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 as HIV positive. With his CD4 count fallen to a mere 16, he started receiving ART in April same year with his own expenses. Gradually with the treatment, his health improved. In 2003, he started visiting the Gym. After three years of courageous work, he won Silver medal in 60 kg wt category in body building in 2006. In 2007 December, Pradipkumar was crowned Mr. Manipur (60 kg wt) by the All Manipur Body Building Association.
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 has excelled in the Mr. India contest in March 2008 with encouragements and inspirations from various circles the world over. Various other competitions have lined up before him now. His success in the crown contest is indeed a pride for the state of Manipur and it is also a triumph of all those living with HIV in the world.