With increasing access to Antiretroviral Treatment (ART),people living with HIV (PLHIV) have the chance to live longer,fulfilling lives and to plan for the future. This was the underlying premise for a workshop held in the city on Monday.
Members from 20 NGOs gathered at Hotel Kapila to participate in in Koshish,a project backed by the European Union,to strengthen civil society organisations and networks,specifically those representing and working with PLHIV and other key populations men who have sex with men (MSM),sex workers (SW),transgender (TG) and people who use drugs to advocate for the development and implementation of programmes for PLHIV in India.
Manoj Pardeshi,secretary of Network of People Living with HIV in Maharashtra said there is evidence that suggests a comprehensive approach to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) has been lacking and current responses are not sufficiently decreasing vulnerability and ill-health.
Studies among PLHIV show high rates of unmet contraceptive need,untreated STIs,and lack of knowledge and skills on safer sex and broader positive prevention,he said. Among PLHIV from marginalised groups,these health indicators show even higher rates of unmet sexual and reproductive health needs and violations of related human rights.
Koshish will enable community-based organisations to engage with key decision makers,such as government institutions and state and national level authorities to ensure that the rights of PLHIV are supported.
Apart from Maharashtra,the project is being implemented in Andhra Pradesh,Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. In each state,five districts have been selected for project implementation.