Staff Reporter

Project in association with New York-based VoA to extend counselling, education, nutritional support, medical services

The move aims at preparing the afflicted to fight the stigmaHousing, food and medical services will be provided to patients Those who are fit for employment will be encouraged and extended help

HYDERABAD: A comprehensive report on setting up a 100-bed shelter for the HIV/AIDS-afflicted, particularly those below 18 years of age, women and the married, in the city and Guntur is likely to be submitted to the Government on Monday.

The project in association with New York-based Volunteers of America (VoA) is estimated to cost Rs. 4.5 crores for setting up the shelter and an operating cost of Rs. 3.5 crores.

Fighting the stigma

While addressing `cultural, social, economic and medical aspects of HIV/AIDS for continuum care', the proposal aims at preparing the afflicted to fight the stigma.

At the same time, it will be used to dispel notions on the HIV-afflicted that they can be productive in the labour market. "This will help in driving away fears and also stigma attached with HIV," says K.Venu, Chest Hospital Superintendent, who is to submit the project details for Government perusal.

First-of-its-kind

Under the concept, said to be first such initiative in the country, adequate housing, food and medical services will be provided to patients at a residential setting. Counselling and education apart, nutritional support and necessary medical services are to be provided.

The schedule charted out for residents also includes vocational counselling, money management and independent living skills.

"Those residents who are fit for employment will be encouraged and helped to seek employment," said Dr. Venu.

Other activities planned are daily group meetings to cover disease education, medical adherence, physiotherapy and safe sex practices.

Proposal for YSR

The proposal for setting up the shelter was first made to Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy by VoA president-CEO Richard P. Motta during his visit to the city in January. The Government agreed to share a part of the cost and provide land.

The Chief Minister had asked Dr. Venu to prepare a comprehensive report on the same.

"The detailed report is ready and I am planning to submit it on Monday," said Dr. Venu.

"Based on the response, it can be spread to entire State at a later date," he added.