India Intelligence Report

 

 

   Community-Based AIDS Initiative

  A Canadian experimental project is partnering with an Indian non-governmental organization to motivate sex workers and devadasis in Bagalkot district in a community-based initiative to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and provide care for those infected.
 

 

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A Canadian experimental project is partnering with an Indian non-governmental organization to motivate sex workers and devadasis in Bagalkot district in a community-based initiative to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and provide care for those infected.

The India-Canada Collaborative HIV/AIDS Project (ICHAP) and the Karnataka Health Promotion Trust (KHPT) are introducing this experimental project in Bagalkot district in Karnataka which has one of the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS.

Karnataka has an estimated 500,000 infected patients with a 1.5% rate among women visiting antenatal clinics and 21.6% among female sex workers. Bagalkot has the fourt highest incidence in the state with 2.6% incidence after Belgaum (4.3%), Koppal (3%), and Dharwad (2.9%).

Bagalkot was chosen for the project funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) because of its relatively weak health infrastructure, high rural population base (75%), a significant number of migrant workers, a substantially high number of rural sex workers and devadasis, and dislocation of people as a result of the construction of the Alamatti dam. Additionally, being close to the former Chalukyan capital in Badami, Pattadakal and Aihole, the district has a high visibility of domestic and international tourists.

The project was conceived in 2001-02 aiming to provide institutional support to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS on vulnerable individuals and groups. New Delhi-based Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR) says that the project brings together link workers, community guides, and peer educators from the community. This network is then trained to create awareness on HIV prevention and care, healthcare services, safe sex and use of condoms, and to reduce vulnerability.

Besides, they also encourage children of sex workers to go to schools and also create awareness among and pressure on families with a history of prostitution to not relegate their children into the same profession or be married as children.

ICHAP and KHPT have so far spent Rs. 6 crore (USD 1.3 million) on this project so far and say that the results are phenomenal.