APAC will now be associated with the government’s health systems project in several areas

The AIDS Prevention and Control (APAC) project, managed by non-governmental organisation Voluntary Health Services, has transferred its AIDS-related projects to the Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society, as their Phase-III project has now been completed. The transferred programmes include involving education and skill training of female sex workers, homosexuals and injecting drug users.

The APAC project was launched in 1995, and was aimed at addressing issues such as sexually transmitted infections, HIV and AIDS. Not only has it conducted surveys in the State about the incidence and prevalence of the diseases, it has also created awareness about these infections and devised programmes for affected segments of the society. Funds came from USAID – United States Agency for International Development.

The third phase of the project, launched in 2007, worked in the high-risk districts of Villupuram, Kancheepuram, Karur, Tiruchi, Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari and Tuticorin besides Puducherry and Karaikal.

The project developed literacy and soft skill programmes to arrest the HIV/AIDS epidemic. APAC has also evolved projects for a variety of high-risk groups, training them, encouraging them to find employment thus making them economically self-reliant.

On Friday, NGOs under the APAC project, held a meeting to analyse their successes as well as discuss methods to fill the lacunae in their projects.

Participant NGOs had trained one group of women in karate and enrolled some others in literacy programmes. A survey of their findings showed that many of those trained not only retained their skill, but also used it effectively.

Principal Secretary, Health, Girija Vaidyanathan said APAC had evolved a scientific method to select NGOs. APAC’s diligent survey of the population and release of survey results were valuable inputs that the government needed to develop schemes for the affected population.

It is based on this that the Health department is also planning documentation of the research. According to Ms. Vaidyanathan, APAC had only finished its Phase III project and though USAID had not yet granted funds for HIV/AIDS-related projects, APAC would be associated with the State’s health systems project in areas such as management of biomedical waste and handling medical equipment.

Keywords: AIDS prevention

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