There are different risks to women in different situations-rural and urban, married and unmarried. The important aspects are the caste, family background, and poverty leading to malnutrition. Sexual practices, the main route to vulnerability, such as, multiple partners resulting from traditional commercial sex, polygamy and the nata system (a system in which if the husband leaves the wife, she has the right to choose her next husband). Medical practices like unsafe deliveries and a general lack of access to good medical facilities leading to the possibilities of infection should be considered.Jatan believes HIV/AIDS is a development problem, not a mere public health issue. Therefore, it is essential to involve Panchayati Raj institutions, NGOs and community leaders IEC as well as intermediation in service providing interventions in rural areas. Effort should be put forth toward reinforcement, integration and convergence of existing programmes in the health sector with the campaign. Strengthening the basic existing health care infrastructure is fundamental to ensure sustainability of project interventions.
To contribute to the fight against HIV/AIDS, Jatan is collaborating with Prayas, Chittorgarh to create a HIV/AIDS prevention campaign for Udaipur district. This form of health communication was designed to change the mind-set and behaviour of youth, migrants and mobile populations in relation to HIV. As a result of this collaboration, campaigns on HIV/AIDS prevention and care have been conducted in Udaipur district. The theme of the campaign was “How to live with those who have HIV” and it consisted of an inter college HIV/AIDS poster competition and a large rally that culminated with a public assembly. The main purpose of the campaign was to create awareness on issues related to HIV/AIDS and to fight against the stigma and discrimination towards persons living with the disease. About 150 students participated.
A key concept that can be drawn from this campaign is the acknowledgment that the "unique strength of the area’s people and institutions" must be used to build the most effective national response. The most important conclusion was that that building sustainable behaviour change will have to be mediated by changes in the community cultures and subcultures within them. This will entail shaping out an environment which will support safer practices. As a consequence, participatory methods will have to be given preference in order to involve and empower individuals and groups to make this change.
In the recent years, work in the area of HIV/AIDS has grown significantly. Whilst many organizations have made attempts to respond to the pandemic, the reality is that issues about HIV/AIDS are often side-lined. The fight against HIV is a matter of effective leadership and resolve at all levels, to protect society and our people. Jatan organized trainings for 1999 SHG members of 1003 SHG. It covered 416 villages of all blocks of Udaipur district. The participants were provided basic information on HIV/AIDS, issues related to prevention, care and treatment of HIV/AIDS, stigma and discrimination related to HIV/AIDS and the role of SHG members in creating awareness and removing stigma/discrimination related to HIV/AIDS at community level.These trainings helped to develop a basic understanding about HIV/AIDS among the rural women. This understanding will help SHG’s to educate the rural people and remove all the misconceptions about HIV/AIDS. An important finding was that in each session should include one PLHIV (people living with HIV) and a longer training period.
The CSO (Civil Society Organization) Forum is formed under the project -"Support to National Efforts for Mainstreaming of HIV" with the objective of mainstreaming HIV/AIDS activities of NGO's/CSO and corporate stakeholders and to build the capacity of these organizations as well. The forum will help to enhance the community response to HIV/AIDS. Jatan is the lead NGO for the Udaipur district-level forum and has 25 partners. Under Jatan's leadership, this association launched an AIDS awareness campaign in schools and colleges of Udaipur City.
The CSO forum meets regularly to discuss the implementation of the programme at the national, state and district level and make recommendations. This forum acts like a watch-dog committee to highlight and address cases and incidences of stigma and discrimination at district, state and national level. The forum also has representation from non-HIV CSOs, as the forum facilitates mainstreaming of HIV in the work of non-HIV CSOs. For this purpose, Jatan organized a district level-mainstreaming workshop with all its partners.
Expected outcomes from the forum:
- Create a strong collective voice with the goal to make HIV programmes a priority
- Establish an organized and strong civil society institution that is engaged and visible at all levels of policy making for the benefits of PLHIVs
- Establish an informed civil society, conversant with policy processes and legislative developments related to PLHIVs
- Create a vibrant democratic and learning forum