BANGALORE: From being rated as the state with the second highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in 2006, to becoming a state that has worked towards reducing the number of new infections, transmissions and deaths, Karnataka has got help from Project Samastha, which has played a major role in reducing HIV/AIDS rate in the state.
Karnataka Health Promotion Trust and University of Manitoba put together Project Samastha’s final summit titled ‘Closing the Gap’.
US Consul General, Jennifer Mclntyre addressed the gathering and Dr E V Ramana Reddy, secretary, Government, Health and Family Welfare Department participated at the USAID-funded project for HIV prevention in Karnataka.
Praising the efforts of the activists, state and NGOs, Consul General Mclntyre said, “The Samastha Project has responded well to the rapidly changing nature of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in India. The success of the project can be attributed to the Government of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, National AIDS Control Organization and non-governmental and community-based organisations supporting this project.”
The project has reached out to more than 3,00,000 people in rural areas across 12 districts in Karnataka.
“The project has helped 15,000 rural female sex workers focus on HIV prevention information, increased their access to condoms, and ensured that they are treated for sexually transmitted infections. Besides, Samastha has also helped more than 70,000 people living with HIV access support, and provided 18,000 children affected by HIV with nutrition, health, education, shelter, and psychological support. In the Budget, the chief minister has announced that they would continue to provide monetary support to this programme, which is positive news,” said Dr E V Ramana Reddy.
People who have benefited from the programme said that the programme had helped them understand the problem and deal with it, while helping hundreds of others too. “What is happening in Karnataka and coastal Andhra Pradesh has immense potential for global application. USA government looks forward to pursuing additional innovations to accelerate the fight against HIV/AIDS,” Consul General Mclntyre said.