Targeted Intervention Project Damtal, Distt. Kangra H.P.
The Project is funded by HP State AIDS Control Society
(Project commenced from: 1st Oct. 2010 to till date )
India is one of the largest and most populated countries in the world, with over one billion inhabitants. Of this number, it’s estimated that around 2.4 million people are currently living with HIV.
HIV emerged later in India than it did in many other countries. Infection rates soared throughout the 1990s, and today the epidemic affects all sectors of Indian society, not just the groups – such as sex workers and truck drivers – with which it was originally associated.
In a country where poverty, illiteracy and poor health are rife, the spread of HIV presents a daunting challenge.
At the beginning of 1986, despite over 20,000 reported AIDS cases worldwide, India had no reported cases of HIV or AIDS. There was recognition, though, that this would not be the case for long, and concerns were raised about how India would cope once HIV and AIDS cases started to emerge.
Later in the year, India’s first cases of HIV were diagnosed among sex workers in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. It was noted that contact with foreign visitors had played a role in initial infections among sex workers, and as HIV screening centres were set up across the country there were calls for visitors to be screened for HIV. Gradually, these calls subsided as more attention was paid to ensuring that HIV screening was carried out in blood banks.
In 1987 a National AIDS Control Programme was launched to co-ordinate national responses. Its activities covered surveillance, blood screening, and health education. By the end of 1987, out of 52,907 who had been tested, around 135 people were found to be HIV positive and 14 had AIDS. Most of these initial cases had occurred through heterosexual sex, but at the end of the 1980s a rapid spread of HIV was observed among injecting drug users (IDUs) in Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland – three north-eastern states of India bordering Myanmar (Burma).
At the beginning of the 1990s, as infection rates continued to rise, responses were strengthened. In 1992 the government set up NACO (the National AIDS Control Organization), to oversee the formulation of policies, prevention work and control programmes relating to HIV and AIDS. In the same year, the government launched a Strategic Plan, the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) for HIV prevention. This plan established the administrative and technical basis for programme management and also set up State AIDS Control Societies (SACS) in 25 states and 7 union territories. It was able to make a number of important improvements in HIV prevention such as improving blood safety.
By this stage, cases of HIV infection had been reported in every state of the country. Throughout the 1990s, it was clear that although individual states and cities had separate epidemics, HIV had spread to the general population. Increasingly, cases of infection were observed among people that had previously been seen as ‘low risk’ such as housewives and richer members of society. In 1998, one author wrote:
“HIV infection is now common in India; exactly what the prevalence is, is not really known, but it can be stated without any fear of being wrong that infection is widespread. it is spreading rapidly into those segments that society in India does not recognize as being at risk. AIDS is coming out of the closet.”
In 1999, the second phase of the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP II) came into effect with the stated aim of reducing the spread of HIV through promoting behaviour change. During this time, the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) programme and the provision of free antiretroviral treatment were implemented for the first time. In 2001, the government adopted the National AIDS Prevention and Control Policy and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee referred to HIV/AIDS as one of the most serious health challenges facing the country when he addressed parliament. Vajpayee also met the chief ministers of the six high-prevalence states to plan the implementation of strategies for HIV/AIDS prevention.
The third phase (NACP III) began in 2007, with the highest priority placed on reaching 80 percent of high-risk groups including sex workers, men who have sex with men, and injecting drug users with targeted interventions. Targeted interventions are generally carried out by civil society or community organizations in partnership with the State AIDS Control Societies. They include outreach programmes focused on behaviour change through peer education, distribution of condoms and other risk reduction materials, treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, linkages to health services, as well as advocacy and training of local groups. The NACP III also seeks to decentralize the HIV effort to the most local level, i.e. districts, and engage more non-governmental organizations in providing welfare services to those living with HIV/AIDS.
PLAN Foundation is a leading organization working in various sectors especially in rural development. Organization is implementing Targeted Intervention Project in Damtal of district Kangra. The project is funded by HP State AIDS Control Society. The project is focused on female sex worker and MSM community. FSW is 550 and MSM is 151 for the duration of six month.