The focus on rural areas was on account of many reasons including principally the higher HIV prevalence in rural areas, migration, strong presence of rural sex work and widespread social stigma. Over 57% of the HIV infected persons in India live in the rural areas.
A need was clearly felt to targeting youth and the adolescent. There is robust evidence that nearly one third of new infections are among young people in the ages 15–29. Young people, particularly those in rural areas, stand at persistent risk of contracting HIV due to lack of proper information and social taboos prohibiting discussion on matters of sex and sexual health.
As part of the Link Worker Scheme, young people in the villages have been motivated to form RRC and take lead in creating awareness on HIV/AIDS in the community. Over 400 RRCs are functional and acts as an Information Hub to impart knowledge and skills among the village youth on STI/HIV/AIDS prevention, risk reduction and access to other social security schemes. RRCs are functioning in existing Youth Clubs, local govt. office, Health Centers, Rural Library, Road side hotel in order to sustain awareness and raise demand for services. Series of mid media activities like local folk song, dance, theatre etc. engaging the local youth based on their talents. Over 3600 community volunteers have been identified, mobilised and trained to work as volunteers and become a member of respective RRC and further provide training. RRC members has reached over 240,000 (38% female) vulnerable youth and adolescents including HRGs.
This is a most sustainable model for setting up RRC engaging the youth from villages, who can take lead, exchange information and share ideas to initiate dialogue on sex & sexuality to prevent RTI/STI and other communicable diseases and continue the activities beyond the project period.
- Community led
- Youth and Adolescents