Background of Scheme Implementation
Over 57% of the HIV positive persons in India are estimated to be living in rural areas. The fight against HIV/AIDS particularly in rural areas becomes more pronounced in view of stigma and discrimination surrounding HIV, resulting in poor access to health care, gender inequality and above all infections going undetected or treated by unqualified practitioners. The existing primary health care system has limited scope and capacity to deal with the sensitive issues like HIV, sexuality and drug use. Keeping this in mind, Link worker Scheme has been conceived for Building the capacity of the rural community in fighting with HIV.
The scheme envisages identifying and training, this village level workforce of Supervisors,Link Workers and volunteers on issues of HIV/AIDS, gender, sexuality, STIs and above all on mobilizing difficult-to-reach, especially vulnerable sub populations including high risk individuals, youth and women. Linking these marginalized sub populations to the public health services for STI, ICTC, ART and then their follow up
Reach out to HRGs and vulnerable men and women in rural areas with information, knowledge, skills on STI/HIV prevention and risk reduction.
- Increasing the availability and use of condoms among HRGs and other vulnerable men and women.
- Establishing referral and follow-up linkages for various services including treatment for STIs, testing and treatment for TB, ICTC/PPTCT services, HIV care and support services including ART.
- Creating an enabling environment for PLHA and their families, reducing stigma and discrimination against them through interactions with existing community structures/groups, e.g. Village Health Committees (VHC), Self Help Groups (SHG) and Panchayati Raj Institutes (PRI).