UNODC is cosponsor of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS - UNAIDS
UNODC Project - H13 establishes its first Drop in Centre in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
As part of the
Project H13 strategy to "scale up" interventions based on the evidence gathered and the platform created in the first phase, the project is now providing comprehensive services across its demonstration sites. Trivandrum Social Service Society (TSSS) has initiated this process in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala (with support from UNODC Project H13) by inaugurating its new Drop-in-Centre (DIC) for injecting drug users (IDUs) at the Valiyathura area of Thiruvananthapuram, on 20 January 2007.
The TSSS - Project H13 Drop In Center at Thiruvananthapuram
Msgr. George Paul during the ribbon - cutting ceremony
Msgr. George Paul blessed and inaugurated the new DIC which was named "
ASHAKIRAN". Fr.George J. Gomez, Director of TSSS presided over the function and others present on the occasion were dignitaries and community members including ward councilors, representatives of other NGOs, priests, sisters, peers and volunteers of TSSS.
Dr. Sreelath, Project Director, Kerala State AIDS Control Society (KSACS), Mr. Pathmakumar (City Police Commissioner) and Mr. Suresh Kumar (S.I Valiyathura Police Station) were amongst the other public figures present on the occasion.
The main objectives of organizing the inaugural function for the DIC were:
To get the blessings of the religious leaders considering their important role in dealing with the dual endemic of drug abuse and HIV/AIDS in Thiruvananthapuram.
To sensitize community members and key stakeholders on the services and activities of the DIC
Finally to establish a rapport with the community members, government departments/authorities and other NGOs/CBOs/FBOs for collaborative efforts at the grassroots level.
Priests, staff of TSSS and community members offer prayer during the inaugural ceremony of the DIC
Disclaimer: The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations.
TSSS's partnership with UNODC: Trivandrum Social Service Society (TSSS), which is partnering with UNODC under the Project H13 "Prevention of transmission of HIV among drug users in SAARC countries", is an organization which employs strategies to empower people facing difficult situations due to substance use. It is also running a drug treatment and rehabilitation centre called "Pratheeksha De Addiction Centre" at Shangumugham, Trivandrum for over 10 years which is funded by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India.
As part of its association with Project H13, TSSS was actively involved in carrying out the RSRA (Rapid Situation and Response Assessment) activities in the first phase of the project. TSSS is being mentored in the project, by the T T Rangnathan Cinical Research Foundation and has been successful in actively engaging with their defined community (i.e. the current drug users and their regular sex partners) in the process of implementing project activities.
Key findings RSRA (TSSS): According to the Rapid Situation and Response Assessment carried out by TSSS, more than half (56%) of the drug users drug users (DUs) are between the age group of 26-35 years with 99% being males. Almost two-thirds (63%) DUs are Muslim by religion. Majority have completed their education upto primary level (84%) and 88% are employed currently.
Alcohol (90%) and Cannabis (91%) are the commonly used drugs. More than half of them use drugs in groups. Injectable drug use ever is being reported by majority (88%) of drug users. Among IDUs, lending (31%) needles/ syringes is high, as a result the IDU's are quite susceptible to various blood borne infections. A bulk of IDUs admitted to cleaning needles/ syringes at the last episode. Almost two-thirds (63%) DUs had ever experienced sex; whereas 81% had their first experience before the age of 25 years. Two-fifths (44%) admitted having multiple sexual partners. Despite good awareness (77%) on the benefit of condom usage, only 37% admitted having used condoms during last sexual encounter with non-regular female sex partner. Almost all (98%) had heard of HIV/AIDS with 86% being aware of the different modes of its transmission.
Project H13 team members of TSSS
More than half (52%) had used drugs during the last sexual act also. The high risk sexual behaviour makes them susceptible to sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV/ AIDS and Hepatitis C; although, very few (1%) reported of symptom(s) of STIs at the time of interview. Only one-thirds (30%) perceive the associated risk involved and very few (6%) were willing for a HIV status test.