Home / Embracing the rights of people in prostitution and sex workers, to address HIV and AIDS effectively
Embracing the rights of people in prostitution and sex workers, to address HIV and AIDS effectively
An article by Pillai S, Seshu M and Shivdas M in Gender & Development,16:2,313 — 326. Veshya Anyay Mukti Parishad (VAMP), the sister organization of Sampada Gramin Mahile Sanstha (SANGRAM), works to address HIV and AIDS in rural parts of India where rates are amongst the highest. They have been effective in addressing HIV by paying particular attention to the overall health and wellbeing of the entire community. Through two principles, the successes are outlined. The first principle “creates a sense of identity and collective solidarity.” Women began to respect each other, form bonds and appreciate their common identities by sharing stories, understanding life experiences, and listening to one another. The second principle recognizes “sex workers as change agents for the community.” Once VAMP members felt comfortable acting as advocates they fight police brutality and brothel raids by working with key community members to address vital concerns and violations. There have been two significant outcomes (1) sustainability of successful HIV programmes; and, (2) increased recognition of the human rights of sex workers. Peer education has been key in sustaining VAMP’s HIV prevention programs. Educators receive ongoing training, are chosen from within the community, and provide the community with knowledge on HIV, health services, and counseling. Peer educators create their own strategies to spread messages. For example, some distribute condoms from their homes and others go door to door. This depends on what strategy they believe is most appropriate and effective for their peer group. It is believed that if agencies and governments implemented programmes with similar foundations and ideals, prevention efforts would be more successful amongst sex workers.
Year of publication:2008
Author:Pillai S, Seshu M and Shivdas M
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