“Their self-esteem was so low. It did not matter (to them) whether they lived or died,” says Parinita Bhattacharjee, director of the Karnataka Health Promotion Trust. She was describing the attitude of sex works until an initiative helped mobilise them and ended up lowering incidence of HIV.
“The effort was to mobilise them, understand their issues and grievances and help find a solution,” says Bhattacharjee, and citing the result: HIV prevalence among sex workers has declined from 25 to 14 per cent since 2005-06.
Karnataka, along with other governments, has been working on intervention programmes in collaboration with Avahan, an initiative launched in India with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
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