Indian Community Welfare Organisation (ICWO) has been approved to host an AIDS 2012 conference hub or ‘mini-conference’ to strengthen the local HIV and AIDS response; to create new opportunities for partnership; and to disseminate the latest research to the community. The AIDS 2012 conference hub was launched at ICWO, Anna Nagar office, on August 23. The conference was aimed at new scientific knowledge on the major issues facing the global response to HIV.

The programme — AIDS Hub 2012-Washington to Chennai — was launched by Dr. T. Illanchezhian, Director-Programme, APAC, VHS-USAID and presided by Esther Mariaselvam, Regional Manager, Action Aid India. This was the first time where a hub for an international conference has been organised in South India, Chennai, for the core and vulnerable population.

Presentations

The AIDS Hub-2012 created an opportunity for learning international issues, advancement of human rights and new learning in terms of HIV/AIDS prevention care and support. The key presentations were on innovation, new strategy and approaches in advancement of knowledge on HIV/AIDS, Human rights and issues related to violence. The selected six presentation were presented by Devika Thilak, District Resource Person, LWS, VHS; Dr. P. Mahalingam, Senior Programme Manager, Care and Treatment, APAC; Y. Charles, TI, Thiruvallur District, ICWO – TANSACS; Anbukarasi, Tamil Nadu State Programme Officer, Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust – HLFPPT; Murali, Centre for Sexually and Health Research and Policy, C-SHaRP; and I. Magbool Shareef, District Resource Person-Training, LWS Project, ICWO.

Regional Manager, Action Aid India, Esther Maria Selvam said, “I am pleased to be part of the AIDS Hub 2012 in updating the latest information and development in the field of HIV/AIDS prevention and care for core and vulnerable population. I am sure this sharing would help the community to prepare better in successfully halting the HIV transmission in Tamil Nadu. Action Aid across the world is committed to improve the quality of life, protect and promote the rights of core and vulnerable groups including people living with HIV/AIDS.”

A.J. Hariharan, Secretary ICWO, said, “This conference would create opportunity for those who were not able to attend the conference, particularly core and vulnerable population and high-risk population. The conference has shared selected key areas for HIV prevention care and support. The presentation covers the topics on female sex workers and their regular partners and their relationships in various parts of the world.”

After the presentation in English and in Tamil, participants were given an opportunity to air their views.

One of the participants said that any discussion on HIV/AIDS does not fail to mention about sex workers. But for the commitment of the female sex workers, the HIV infection rate would not have come down in Tamil Nadu, she added. She requested the civil society organisation and donor organisations to change the focus to holistic approach, instead of HIV/AIDS, while addressing the needs of female sex workers.

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