Trans community upset as UT ends HIV project

Sheetal highlighted that since July 2011, they have been working with PACS to raise awareness and prevent HIV/AIDS among the target population.
The HIV/AIDS intervention project received an annual allocation of Rs 34 lakh for materials, awareness activities, and salaries of 26 transgender people employed by the initiative.
The HIV/AIDS intervention project received an annual allocation of Rs 34 lakh for materials, awareness activities, and salaries of 26 transgender people employed by the initiative. (Photo: Twitter)

PUDUCHERRY: The transgender community in Puducherry has expressed strong opposition to the government’s decision to withdraw a 12-year-old HIV/AIDS intervention project. The project, targeted at gay men and transgender people, was conducted in collaboration with the Pondicherry AIDS Control Society (PACS). Led by K Sheetal from Sahodaran organisation, protesters gathered near the Assembly on Wednesday.

Sheetal highlighted that since July 2011, they have been working with PACS to raise awareness and prevent HIV/AIDS among the target population. The project received an annual allocation of Rs 34 lakh for materials, awareness activities, and salaries of 26 transgender people employed by the initiative.

Sheetal alleged that the project was abandoned after grievances were raised with the PACS project director about some PACS staff meting out harassment, stigmatisation, and sexual discrimination to the project members over the past year.

A letter was sent on March 20 that they would abandon the project if the issues remain unresolved but there was no response from PACS, forcing the organisation to halt the programme. PACS sent a letter on April 25 inviting Sahodaran for discussions, but the organisation was unable to respond as they were attending the Koothandavar Transgender Festival in Koovagam and Pilliyarkuppam, said Sheetal

Responding to the issue, Dr G Sriramulu, director of health services, said the project was withdrawn based on a written request from Sahodaran. He mentioned that an inquiry was conducted into the allegations and a report was submitted. Consequently, the government decided to withdraw and to invite tenders for the project.

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