Volunteers try to link AIDS victims in Kolar district to life

Volunteers try to link AIDS victims in Kolar district to life

In more than 100 villages, they spread awareness about the disease

The Sampoorna project was planned under the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP)- Phase 3 of 2006-11. It is being implemented in 100 villages each of eight districts in the Statec- Uttar Kannada, Dakshina Kannada, Gadag, Haveri, Shimoga, Chitradurga, Bangalore Rural and Kolar- with an aim to reduce the number of HIV-infected persons and AIDS patients in rural areas. National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) and Karnataka Health Promotion Trust (KHPT) are the joint implementing bodies.

The link workers are working in 28 villages in Kolar taluk, 27 in Bangarpet, 21 in Mulbagal and 24 in Malur to spread awareness about the infection among HIV-infected persons. The Youth and Development Society of Karanjikatte is conducting the link workers' project in Kolar.

Under the Sampoorna project, starting December 2009, as many as 920 female sex workers have been identified in the four taluks of Kolar district. The link workers have been communicating to them in confidence and guiding them.

The Integrated Counselling and Test Centres (ICTC) have been regularly checking the health of as many as 430 sex workers. In addition, 770 sex workers were checked for sexually-transmitted infection (STI).

At risk

The work of the link workers involves recognising people belonging to High Risk Groups or HRGs and spreading awareness among them about the infection.

Sex workers suffering from both infection and higher levels of the syndrome, homosexuals, relatives of infected persons, clients of infected sex workers, relatives of nomadic persons, spouses of infected persons, members of families headed by women and youngsters are generally identified under the group.

Speaking with Deccan Herald, Kolar District Convenor of the Youth and Development Society Nandish said in order to fulfill the aim of Sampoorna, committees of infected persons are also formed.

“Demonstrations, street plays, community meetings, health check-ups are some of the activities undertaken by such committees to carry on the work of the link workers in spreading awareness about HIV/AIDS and preventing it from spreading,” he explained.

Kolar being in the border area, migrants come to the district in large numbers in search of employment. “This, however, can affect the health of the local residents, as the migrants would belong to an HRG. Neither the migrants nor the residents of the villages would try to take measures to avoid infection,” he said.

“They do not even ponder on how to live life fully despite being infected with the virus or lead conjugal life safely. As a result, the infection spreads to their family members,” Nandish said.

Every district has one training officer and 40 link workers, who work to avoid an increase in the number of people falling victims of the virus.

206 depots

As many as 206 condom depots have been opened in select villages. Infected persons as well as healthy citizens are developing awareness about the need to use condoms, said Nandish and added that the use of condoms too has increased.

“We have already presented 100 episodes of street plays on the issue. Several other community programmes too are being organised to spread awareness,” he said.

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