Transgenders focus of new HIV/AIDS campaign

New Delhi, Dec 5: For long a neglected community, transgenders would now be the focus of a new campaign against HIV/AIDS launched by the health ministry, an official said Thursday.

The department of AIDS control under the health ministry has designed a comprehensive care package for transgenders or hijras at risk, under the National AIDS Control Progamme (NACP).

The programme plans to reach out to transgenders through fairs which they attend, and other community development programmes.

The department of AIDS control has conducted estimation exercises in 17 states with support from UNDP-India for effective planning and strategy design of such preventive interventions.

“As the department of AIDS control develops the roadmap to scale up transgender and hijra interventions, we look forward to our continued dialogue with the transgender or Hijra community in designing the interventions,” Luv Verma, secretary in the department of AIDS control, said at a press conference here.

“We also believe that community participation is desirable to spearhead the efforts of HIV prevention and control,” he said.

The department of AIDS control was collaborating with other ministries on various initiatives for the welfare of transgenders.

Considering the relatively high prevalence of HIV among transgenders, it was crucial that focused HIV interventions among them are scaled up, Verma added.

According to figures from the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), India has demonstrated an overall reduction of 57 percent in the annual new HIV infections from 2,74,000 in 2000 to 1,16,000 in 2011.