Vadodara: Red Ribbon Express which is an AIDS/HIV awareness campaign train by the Indian Railways will arrive here on February 17, district collector said.

The third phase of the initiative was launched in Delhi on January 12 last by Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad as part of the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda.

About 25,000 students and people from all walks of life are expected to visit the train which will have a two-day halt in Vadodara before embarking on its onward journey to other parts of the state.

"During the stop here, we will ensure that maximum number of people, those connected with Blood banks, agents of migrant labourers and others visit the train, which is spreading a campaign to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS," District Collector Vinod Rao said.

The train which has various facilities, including counseling and testing of HIV/AIDS, will also visit cities like Patan, Surendranagar, Hapa (Jamnagar), Bhavnagar, Ahmedabad and Valsad before entering into Maharashtra.

"Under the Gujarat State Aids Control Society and its Vadodara district unit, various programmes for improving life of the people living with HIV/AIDS and to give them support are being carried out, Rao said.

The first phase of Red Ribbon Express was launched on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2007. The seven coach train was flagged off by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

The express became the first time information and awareness about HIV/AIDS disseminated through a train service.

Rao said the innovative initiative of multimedia and multi-sectoral mass mobilisation project of Red Ribbon Express was commended globally as a unique example of its kind.

"Red Ribbon Express in its first phase focused on information dissemination. The second phase added the element of counseling and treatment services on-board while its third phase is focusing on micro-planning with exhibitions and folk troupes," he added.