08 September 2010
By Vaishalli Chandra
People living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) are struggling to take their rightful place at work and other spheres of life.
Incidents of schools shutting their doors to children of PLWHA parents, as happened in Belgaum recently show that the stigma attached to them has not been cleansed in the country despite myriad awareness campaigns.
People familiar with the situation say methods such as distributing pamphlets, hoardings, TV commercials to spread awareness work only to a limited extent.
Now, an NGO believes that the way ahead is peer counsellors.
For the past five years, Indian Network for People Living with HIV/AIDS (INP+) that operates in five states – Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur and Nagaland has been working towards identifying people living with HIV/AIDS to strengthen its network and provide a strong support system for the needy.
INP+ has been working in collaboration with Engender Health System (an internationally active non-profit, working to provide quality sexual and reproductive healthcare) to train nearly 15,000 ‘peer educators’ and ‘peer counsellors’.
The role of these ‘trained’ educators and counsellors is to spread awareness and counsel patients and their families.
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