Community participation key to combating HIV in India

PTI| Updated: Nov 02, 2013, 21:48 PM IST

New Delhi: Acknowledging the need for the scaling up of interventions against HIV in India, the Secretary of the Department of AIDS Control, Lov Verma, today called for community participation to ensure complete eradication of the disease.

"Involvement of the community is key for a successful intervention programme and the public health system could not move without their involvement," Verma said.

He was speaking at the conclusion of a two-day National Dissemination Workshop here.

Stressing on the need for scaling up HIV interventions, including Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST) for injecting drug users, Verma said that the Department of AIDS Control was in touch with a number of corporate agencies to garner their support in implementing HIV programmes in the country.

Under the corporate social responsibility law, companies are to allocate a minimum of 2 per cent of their total profits towards projects that positively impact society.

He further said that HIV prevalence was as high as 5 per cent among injecting drug users in states like Bihar, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.

"Meaningful involvement of the community in programme planning and implementation, treatment of Hepatitis-C, drug overdose management and the need for developing a comprehensive service package is important," he said.

Reiterating the importance of community strengthening and involvement, Swarup Sarkar, Special Adviser to UNITAID, said that communities, be it drug users, transgenders or sex workers, knew the best and the solutions lay with them.