UNODC is cosponsor of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS - UNAIDS
RAS/H13 - Prevention of transmission of HIV among Drug Users in SAARC Countries
Master Training on Positive Living: HIV Care and Support in the Context of Drug use, with a focus on Women
UNODC ROSA, a co-sponsor agency of UNAIDS in the joint UN response to HIV/AIDS, has been tasked as the lead agency for addressing injecting drug use and HIV vulnerability issues in SAARC countries.
Project H13 is a regional project supported by UNODC, ROSA.
In Phase I of the regional project H-13 was implemented by 24 partner NGOs and mentored by the 8 Regional Resource and Training Centres at the sub-regional level and the National Institute for Social Defence- National Centre for Drug Abuse Prevention (NISD-NCDAP) at the national level.
The regional and national coordination mechanisms were established, which included a National Steering Committee of drug HIV with representation from MSJE, NACO, Networks like Positive Women's Network and FINGODAP.
The project supported Positive Women Network+ to initiate a project that addressed issues specifically faced by women living with HIV who are either current or ex-drug users. Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Delhi, West Bengal, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland were the states chosen with the goal to form Positive Women Drug Users forum and their injecting/sexual partners by networking with Indian Network for People living with HIV and AIDS and its state level networks.
The achievements of this collaboration were:
PWN+ was able to reach out and serve over 500 women living with HIV who are either drug users or affected by drug using spouse most of them reported from the state of Manipur.
Key contacts were appointed in each state to establish network and linkages with health and social service providers in states as well to advocate with State AIDS Control Societies (SACS).
Support Group meetings helped women drug users find space to meet and share each other's concerns ultimately empowering them to face the society aiming to improve the quality of their lives.
Extension of Phase I
The Project is continuing implementing the 'Comprehensive package' for drug users and their sex partners. This package which includes carrying out a Rapid Situation and Response Assessment (RSRA), both baseline and midline, Peer Led Intervention (PLI), Safer Practices (SP), Low Cost Community Based Care and Support (LCCS) and Oral Substitution Buprenorphine (OSB).
Additionally, one of the key activities in the extended Phase I of the project is the placement of PWN+ key contacts at the Regional Resource and Training Centres (RRTCs) in India to mainstream concerns of positive living within the existing drug demand reduction programmes.
A training strategy has been developed in order to sensitize, build capacity, knowledge base and skills for the mentor and partner agencies to address HIV care and support issues in the context of positive living. These trainings will widen the focus of the Project from drug demand reduction to drug related HIV issues and concerns. Since Project H13 is also a gender project reaching out to female partners of drug users through the various support groups and the partnership with PWN+ , these trainings will clearly establish the drug use and HIV link and reach out to a larger number of women and drug users both living and affected with HIV.
The key participants in the trainings were:
Regional Support Person(RSP) from the 8 RRTCs
PWN+ Key Contact (KC) placed at each RRTC
Team Leaders from all partner NGOs
Peer Outreach Workers( 2 or 3 with atleast 1 female ) from all partner NGOs
The training strategy includes two National trainings and three sub-regional trainings of duration of three days each. The training calendar is as follows:
PWN+ Training on 'Understanding Drugs and HIV in the context of women living with HIV'
25 States and 3 UTs
30 August - 1 September
Upon completion of the national trainings, the RSP and the Key Contact will return for the sub-regional training as co-trainers supported by the training consultants to train the Peer Outreach Workers (POW). Once both the national and sub-regional training for a RRTC zone and its partner NGOs is done, these participants who will now become "Master Trainers" will return to sensitize and train the rest of the staff at their respective NGOs, drug users and their partners at the demo sites. Currently we are in the process of preparing a report on the 'Pre and Post training analysis' which will be shared soon. The flow of the trainings is as follows:
In addition to these trainings, a module and IEC materials such as posters, pamphlets, flip charts will also be developed by the Project in order to more effectively address the needs and provide services to persons living and affected with HIV, especially women.