MYSORE: Dr Nafis Sadik, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General and Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Asia and former executive director of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), hailed the efforts of the Ashodaya community in making a difference in the lives of sex workers.
Dr Sadik was on a visit to Ashodaya Samiti, a Mysorebased sex workers organisation founded in 2005 and working for community empowerment, HIV prevention and support of people living with HIV. She was accompanied by the UN Country Coordinator of UNAIDS-India, Dr Charles Gilkes.
Her twoday stay included a visit to the government-run ICTC and ART Centre at K R Hospital, an overview of initiatives run by Ashodaya and Ashodaya Academy and a field visit.
Dr Sadik visited the Ashodaya Academy and held discussions with the transgender sex workers on the community- led structural intervention in HIV programme and community-to-community capacity building undertaken across India and other countries in the Asia Pacific Region.
She also celebrated Ugadi with the sex workers and learnt how the Ashodaya initiative had made an impact on their lives.
"It is critical that mainstream of the society engages with issues of sex workers as it will have a long-term and lasting impact in HIV prevention and empowerment of the community,” she added.