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PROJECTS | India | HIV/AIDS Awareness
Vilpatti Village Project | Silvarpatti Community Health Project | Nilaitha Velaan Kuzhumam | Shelter, Protection, Education and Development for Youth | HIV/AIDS Awareness

HIV/AIDS was first identified in India at laboratories in Chennai and Vellore, both in Tamil Nadu, in 1986. Since then, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that India has the largest number of HIV positive people in any single country. In response to WHO's statement, the Indian Government formed the National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) to oversee the country's response to the impending epidemic. NACO's surveillance programme shows that the incidence of HIV positive people in India has more than doubled between 1992 and 1999. NACO's surveillance also reveals that the main areas of infection are Tamil Nadu, Mumbai and Manipur. Over one third of India's HIV positive population are from Tamil Nadu.

ICT-SEEDS has been working in Tamil Nadu since 1987 and was well positioned to play a role in combating the spread of HIV. ICT has been able to obtain grants from the Mercury Phoenix Trust to carry out work in close collaboration with NACO, the Meenakshi Mission Hospital, The Mother Saravedevi Social Service Society, and many other concerned local NGOs on an HIV/AIDS Awareness project, which is essentially a 'Training of Trainers' scheme under which ICT-SEEDS staff have been sensitised about the realities of HIV/AIDS. ICT-SEEDS staff is now able to train others, both within the NGO community and at the grassroots, about the methods of HIV prevention; the myths and realities of contagion and transmission, and home care and support for HIV/AIDS sufferers.

3 new staff have been hired for the HIV/AIDS Awareness programme, one who is a trained counsellor whose job it is to deal primarily with the social and psychological affects of the virus as well as to advise on palliative treatment and, if necessary and possible, arrange hospice care.

Testing for the virus is also a component of the project. By Indian standards, testing is expensive, nearly four pounds for the LISA test and thirty pounds for the more accurate western blot, which is well beyond the reach of most people.

The ICT-SEEDS HIV/AIDS Awareness project has also been very active in forming an umbrella organisation, AIDS Prevention and Action Forum (APAF), which is ensuring a co-ordinated effort from the NGOs in the project area who are working to prevent the spread of the virus.

In this past financial year, APAF have been very active in putting together rallies to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS throughout Tamil Nadu and to put pressure on local government to play its role in addressing the problem

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