PR Newswire | 27 Jun, 2014
HYDERABAD, India: To mark the successful closure of the decade-long 'Avahan' HIV prevention programme in Andhra Pradesh, India HIV/AIDS Alliance organised an event in Hyderabad to disseminate 'Empowering Key Populations for Sustainable Prevention: Avahan in Andhra Pradesh, 2003-2014', a review of the programme's learnings, findings and success stories.
Avahan was an innovative, focused HIV prevention initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The goal of Avahan was to reduce HIV transmission and the prevalence of STIs in vulnerable high-risk populations - female sex workers (FSW), men who have sex with men (MSM), transgender (TG), and people who inject drugs (PWID) - through prevention education, services, and community mobilisation. Over the period of implementation of Avahan, Alliance India reached out to 76,822 people (49,776 FSW, 23,281 MSM/TG and 402 PWID) in 141 sites across 14 districts of Rayalseema and Telangana regions of Andhra Pradesh.
Held at Hotel Taj Deccan, Hyderabad, the one-day event included a dissemination and experience sharing meeting, cultural performances by members of the community and felicitation of eminent personalities from the government, donors and other collaborators who contributed to the success of the programme. More than 200 stakeholders came together at this event.
Mr. Kailash Ditya, Joint Director, Andhra Pradesh State AIDS Control Society (APSACS) commended the efforts of Alliance India's decade-long work with high-risk populations in Andhra Pradesh and the significant contribution of Avahan programme to reducing new HIV infections among sex workers and MSM. He affirmed the commitment of APSACS to empower the community and protect the rights of vulnerable communities in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
Ms. Matangi Jayaram, Senior Programme Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation reiterated the need for continued efforts to strengthen community systems and organisation of marginalised populations to advocate for their rights to reduce HIV risk and vulnerability in AP.
According to James Robertson, Executive Director of India HIV/AIDS Alliance, "What Avahan did - putting key populations first - should have been game-changing for the global AIDS response. How little the global AIDS response has actually changed now a decade later is testament to how difficult it is to break through the stigma and discrimination that define this disease."
He continued, "Though we know we can find high HIV prevalence among sex workers, MSM and drug-using populations worldwide, we still don't invest resources to match the relative scale of the epidemic in these groups. Avahan showed it can be done."
Dr P Prabhakar, Director Regional Office, Alliance India, Andhra Pradesh said, "While significant progress has been achieved over the last decade in HIV prevention in Andhra Pradesh, more work needs to be done to consolidate gains made by reducing HIV risk and social vulnerability among high-risk populations, such as sex workers, MSM and TG."
About India HIV/AIDS Alliance:
The India HIV/AIDS Alliance (Alliance India) is a diverse partnership that brings together committed organisations and communities to support a sustained response to HIV in India. Complementing the national programme in India, it works through capacity building, knowledge sharing, technical support and advocacy. Through our network of partners, Alliance India supports the delivery of effective, innovative, communityâbased HIV programmes to key groups affected by the epidemic.
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Media Contact: Bini Philips, firstname.lastname@example.org, 9540621333, Communications: Consultant, India HIV/AIDS Alliance