Prevention of HIV/AIDS, beggary and mainstreaming of street children in Andhra Pradesh
- Country : India
- Subject : Population Studies
The successful strategies adopted by a non-governmental organization in Andhra Pradesh to prevent beggary and STIs/HIV among street children and to mainstream them. India has the largest number of street children (8-17 years) in the world. These children are vulnerable as they are exposed to all kinds of risky social environment. They are prone to drinking alcohol, smoking, using narcotics, pick- pocketing, indulging in sex and many other similar vices. A vast majority of the street children indulge in sex at a very young age (soon after crossing 14 years of age). Thus, street children are a high-risk group population for STIs/HIV/AIDS in India. Andhra Pradesh, where the present programme is in operation, has the dubious distinction of having the highest number of street children in India, though it is only the fifth largest state in India in terms of population. The National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), India initiated in 2000-2001 a few projects through Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) in selected districts of India on an experimental basis to prevent STIs / HIV among street children and mainstream them through social work interventions and provide qualitative sexual and general health services to them. the importance of using condom to avoid the risk of HIV/AIDS infection and the correct procedure to use it were conveyed to them. In fact, the social workers skillfully and ably built up rapport and communication with the children and thus helped them to increase their knowledge of STIs / HIV / AIDS, the imperative need to change their present general and risky sexual behaviour, the use of condom for safer sex, the importance of Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) of HIV. The impressive success achieved was largely due to the dedicated efforts of the social workers in conducting the intervention programmes.