LWS - PREVENTION FROM HIV/AIDS
India has the third largest HIV epidemic in the world. HIV prevalence in India is estimated at 0.3 percent. This figure is small compared to most other middle-income countries but because of India’s huge population (1.2 billion) this equates to 2.1 million people living with HIV.
Functioning as the lead agency for the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO), ChildFund India is implementing the Link Workers Scheme in 22 districts of Andhra Pradesh and Telengana.
The program is being implemented in 1900 villages of 22 districts in Andhra Pradesh and Telengana.
Sex workers and men who have sex with men are among the key affected groups, along with people who inject drugs. Transgender people are emerging as a group at high risk of HIV transmission. Migrants and long distance truckers continue to act as bridge populations between certain groups and the general population, fuelling the HIV epidemic.
The goal of the Link Workers Scheme is to reach High Risk Groups and vulnerable men & women in rural areas with information, knowledge and skills on HIV/STI prevention and risk reduction. The program components include:
- Increasing the availability and use of condoms.
- Establishing referral and follow-up linkages for treatment for STIs, testing and treatment for TB, ICTC/PPTCT services, and HIV care and support services including ART.
- Creating an enabling environment for PLHAs and their families, reducing stigma and discrimination against them through interactions with community structures/groups.
Since 2008, this program has shown tremendous impact:
- Over 50,000 people have been tested for HIV and positive cases linked to ART.
- More than 5,000 people were treated for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs); nearly 3000 TB symptomatic cases were tested and positive cases put on treatment.
- 25 million condoms have been distributed through 3000 condom outlets, outreach and social marketing.
- More than 4000 Village Information Centers have been established in 1900 villages to spread awareness.
- Over 1500 Red Ribbon Clubs have been formed to sensitize and strengthen youth and motivate peer education. These clubs sensitize and strengthen the youth and college or school drop outs, and college and school students, adolescents, against HIV/AIDS and STI infections and, also motivate peer education in those groups.
- More than 30,000 volunteers have been selected and trained. These volunteers are actively involved in awareness and motivational activities amongst community to help them access available services and to promote condom accessibility. And they are supporting Link Workers in identifying the High Risk Groups and all other target population, to motivate them to get access of services being provided under this program.