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.