HIV/STI Services for At-Risk Populations
1. Project Sahay
India has been successful in identifying 83% of the estimated 2.14 million PLHIVs (first 90) and has put 81% among them on lifelong ARV treatment (second 90). SAATHII with guidance and support from NACO and funding support form MAC AIDS Fund supplements these efforts towards reaching the first and second 90 of the 90-90-90 national goals through the Project Sahay. The project seeks to expand HIV prevention-to-care services to MSM/TG, and other associated High Risk Groups (HRGs) and At-Risk Groups (ARGs) such as single male migrants, prisoners, and female partners of HRGs/ARGs, with customized and innovative interventions.
The prime objectives of the project are:
- Increase uptake of HIV and STI prevention and reproductive health and rights related services through community based screening by 10% among hard to reach 30,000 MSM/TG and other HRGs and ARGs
- Identify and link 300 HIV+ cases to initiate early treatment for the clients detected in the project
- Conducting a study on “Awareness, Availability and Accessibility of PEP to MSM and transgender women, in the context of sexual exposure in India”
The strategies employed by the project are organizing CBS camps at source/ destination migration sites; provision of other health services during CBS camps (general health check-up, blood pressure and sugar testing); modifying camp location, timing, and duration as per the convenience of the clients; one-to-one screening in orthodox settings; and a Technology- Based Intervention (TBI) comprising of a website (www.sahay-india.org), and smartphone and SMS- based application for reaching unreached HRG/ARG clients who use online platforms to seek sexual partners. The following
The Project was implemented in collaboration with the following partners: i) Badlav Samiti, Madhya Pradesh; ii) Disha-Roman Catholic Diocesan Social Service Society, Rajasthan; iii) Jan Vikas Samiti, Uttar Pradesh; iv) Modern Architects of Rural India (MARI), Telangana and; v) Mansa Foundation Welfare Society, Punjab.
- Screened 39,022 (96% of total screened) community members for the first time for HIV (who were otherwise uncovered by any HIV intervention program)
- Identified 200 hidden HIV cases among at risk groups and HRGs and linked 95% of them to ARV treatment.
- Linked 3 screened positive cases during the lockdown period and ensured early diagnosis and treatment initiation
- Supported LGBT events like “Tarang Film Fest” and “Log Kya Kahenge” which increased project visibility and resulted in footfall of 152 and 111 on the Sahay website.