The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Shipping Ministry have entered into an understanding to provide facilities for prevention, care, support and treatment services for HIV/AIDS to port workers as well as the community around major ports, including fishermen, seafarers, truckers, single male migrants and other vulnerable population.
The two Ministries will also work to provide a stigma-free environment and promote greater involvement of HIV-infected people in all major port areas.
On its part, the Shipping Ministry will provide health infrastructure and human resources for prevention and management of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections, designate responsibility to personnel at a suitable level to plan, implement and monitor these services, and ensure that identified health personnel from the facilities are provided capacity-building by the State AIDS Control Societies (SACS).
Also, it will promote safe sexual practices among vulnerable population in port areas with the help of the SACS, disseminate educational material pertaining to HIV/AIDS/STI at ports and promote outreach activities.
The National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) will share the nationally approved treatment protocols, guidelines and standards pertaining to STI/HIV/AIDS, and provide technical support and build capacity of ports health personnel to facilitate integration of HIV/AIDS in the health services.
The NACO will also help train port health personnel on integrated counselling and testing services for HIV and give technical support for the implementation of IEC and awareness activities around major ports.
In addition to sharing reporting formats and monitoring mechanisms, NACO/SACS will coordinate and provide necessary technical support to the Shipping Ministry.