Times of India
18 October 2010
By Avanindra Mishra
Adarsh Nagar, India
Triumph Of Truth: Pink City Glows
Ramleela Grounds in Adarsh Nagar was bursting at the seams with people who gathered to witness the burning of the 105–ft Ravan effigy. Huge rush was also witnessed at nearly a dozen other major Ravan Dahan sites in the city. According to market estimates, effigies of nearly 5 crore were purchased this Dussehra
Now, Naco plans a safe Diwali for labourers
Jaipur: The National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) has identified four districts in Rajasthan – Jaipur, Ajmer, Udaipur and Jodhpur – where they will keep a watch on migrant workers coming back to their homes during the festival season. Reason: migrant workers living alone in metro cities are the biggest carriers of the HIV to the state.
The residents of the state, working in distant cities, will be advised "safe sex" behaviour when they return for Diwali. The NACO has devised an ‘intervention programme’ for migrants which will be held at a few major transit stations in the four districts of the state.
"Jaipur, Jodhpur, Ajmer and Udaipur have been identified as major transit
points, as most of the migrant workers pass through these cities. Special travel kits have been prepared to be distributed to the migrant workers," said Dr Pradeep Choudhary, joint director, IEC (Information, Education, Communication), Rajasthan AIDS Control Society.
The state has a huge population of migrant workers. Often leading a secluded life distant from family, the migrant workers remain exposed to unsafe sex in cities where they work.
In fact, NACO has been working on a revised migrant strategy; the intervention programme has been announced con–sidering the festive season. Most of the workers return home during the Diwali celebrations while many more set off for work after the festival.
The frequent travel designation for migrant workers register a high incidence of sex trafficking. The programme will ensure that the workers have access to adequate information and contraceptive techniques to avoid the risk of infection. Along with prevention of HIV, emphasis will also be made on promotion of HIV testing and the antiretroviral treatment.
"Even as preventing spread of the infection remains the primary concern, early detection of the infection can considerably increase life expectancy of the patient," said a health official. The programme is scheduled to be implemented in phases across the country. The four districts of the state have been included in the first phase to be launched from October 17.
More than 90,000 migrants are expected to be covered under the first phase.
According to estimates, there are more than 5,00,000 migrant population in the state. Many of them also indulge in abuse of intravenous drugs and other unsafe practices, which further increases the probabilities for HIV infection.
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