IAPA Projects/Programs in India
The International Alliance for the Prevention of AIDS provides 13 programs in Chennai, India which focus on three areas: HIV Education, Nutrition and Support, and Testing and Treatment.
Summer Internship Program (SIP)
India ranks third in the world for people living with HIV next to South Africa and Nigeria. In Tamil Nadu, through the hard work of many NGOs and volunteers, the prevalence rate of HIV, has come down to 0.35%. But the figures can go up at anytime, if we are complacent. Also, as more than 88% of HIV infections are among the age group of 15-49 years, hence it became imperative that we educate the youth, in schools and colleges, so that no new infections could occur.
Since 2006, IAPA has implemented the Summer Internship Program (SIP), to educate school and University students in Chennai, in scientific facts of HIV/AIDS. This program has been acknowledged by Arizona State University – ASU – as one of the best “Study Abroad Programs”. The Summer Internship Program is one of the most important programs in the IAPA calendar of events.
• Teach an updated, accurate; fact based HIV/AIDS Curriculum in schools, community groups, and other venues within our means, to enable them to protect themselves from HIV.
• Provide a rewarding and enjoyable volunteer program for American as well as Indian students that encourage further involvement in the fight against HIV/AIDS and the development of IAPA’s mission.
• Implement community service projects for IAPA’s partner NGOs/CBOs.
• Develop a committed students to disseminate HIV/AIDS prevention and care & support messages to other students.
SIP Program in India
Interns from Arizona State University (ASU) and the University of Arizona (UA) are recruited, trained in a specially developed curriculum that is entirely scientific, fact-based and gender sensitive, for 6 months, before coming to Chennai. In Chennai teaching skills are honed during the 6 day Joint Orientation, JO. Teaching Groups consist of American interns and Indian Volunteers. During the JO, they also are instructed on: History of India, Indo-US relationship, HIV/AIDS prevention and testing in India, MSM/Transgender construct and experience of people living with HIV and team-building games. Tamil lessons are taken to gain a working knowledge of the language to comfortable be able to interact in Chennai. Also, a marriage demonstration is organized followed by an open discussion between the Interns and Indian Volunteers on topics of sex, dating, marriage, etc. Following the JO teachings and Community Service Projects are implemented until the end of July.
The Interns also participate in two trips outside of Chennai during the middle of the program. This provides a rich culture opportunity that widens the Interns perspective and provides a life changing experience.
The teaching in schools and colleges allows the Interns to see firsthand the impact they are making. Working with the NGOs on Side Projects and meeting community groups including: children and families, tribal people, fishermen community, village people and slum community the Interns come face to face with real India and feel their struggles, problems and joys, which is a great life changing experience.
From 2007 to 2018, 88,208 students from various educational institutions have been covered by the SIP Programs.
Mainstreaming HIV/AIDS Project
The Project entitled “Mainstreaming of HIV/AIDS” was started in 2011. Through this project, IAPA provides training to selected NGOs/CBOs working in developmental fields in Tamil Nadu”, every year, so that they would be able to mainstream HIV/AIDS prevention activities in their day to day activities, without extra cost. The goal of the project is to scale up HIV/AIDS awareness programs in Tamil Nadu. At present only particular NGOs/CBOs are working in HIV/AIDS field, but there are many NGOs/CBOs, engaged in a plethora of activities like tribal development, rural development, women empowerment, youth development, environment and so on, who have never received any training or capacity building in HIV/AIDS, but are working with big populations. IAPA felt the need to train these NGOs/CBOs in mainstreaming HIV/AIDS in their activities, so that HIV prevention messages will be disseminated among large populations. A Training Need Assessment was conducted, based on which a curriculum was developed to provide this training to the NGOs/CBOs. During the training the NGOs/CBOs would be asked to develop an “Action Plan” as to how they would be mainstreaming HIV/AIDS in their activities. Follow up visits would be taken up by resource persons and IAPA-India personnel. Since 2011, IAPA is conducting two Mainstreaming training, programs one in Chennai and one in any of the districts of Tamil Nadu, through which 40 personnel from 20 NGOs are being trained , every year. Read more…
Slum Intervention Project
HIV/AIDS education is going on for 3 days in a month by IAPA staff at the Nehru Park and Namachivayapuram slums. IAPA staff conduct one on one and one to group interactions with the slum community. During these individual and group meetings, HIV/AIDS and STI prevention messages are disseminated. The pamphlets on HIV & STI prevention and HIV testing that IAPA has since developed on these topics are distributed to them. The staff would also refer people for STI treatment and HIV testing.
Training of Trainers (ToT) Project
In keeping with the mission of IAPA, that of preventing the spread of HIV through education and volunteerism, the organization envisages creating cadres of trainers or educators who will continue to disseminate HIV prevention messages to the masses. Hence IAPA conducts Training of Trainers (ToT) , a 3-day program in which HIV/AIDS curriculum of the organization is taught in detail to selected students of colleges in Chennai. IAPA conducts two programs in a year, one at the Madras School of Social Work and one at any one of the city colleges. 20 to 30 students are trained in each program, every year.
IAPA Video Project
The video project is a collaboration effort between some Chennai city colleges, Apple Curry studios, a reputed company making ad films and IAPA. Through this project, we enrolled students pursuing degree in Visual Communication, and who are looking out for internship. Then they are given training in HIV/AIDS and asked to come up with a story that would educate young people on HIV/AIDS prevention. The Apple Curry Studio provides all technical support, including the equipment and personnel. So far we have produced 6 videos. Now, we are using all the videos in our HIV/AIDS education. The material produces by youth, for the youth is making quite an impact. After studying the impact, we hope to start producing more videos in the coming years. Read more…
We have formed a WhatsApp group, “Friends of IAPA” in which there are nearly 100 members, mostly past Indian volunteers and college students who took part at IAPA’s ToT programs. Periodcially we send HIV/AIDS news and messages. The members also provide messages and news on HIV/AIDS. We are also sending HIV prevention messages regularly.
Community Education Programs
Throughout the year IAPA conducts education/awareness programs on HIV/AIDS, STIs, to a plethora of different community groups such as slum dwellers, fishermen, members of self-help groups, factory workers, migrants, truck drivers and so on. School and university students are also taught. These programs are done in collaboration with different NGOs/CBOs
Community Outreach Programs:
IAPA celebrates/commemorates some important days like New Year day, Women’s Day, Children’s Day, World AIDS Day, International Candle Light day, Youth Mela – on youth day. These events are done with a theme every time and with a view to disseminating HIV prevention and stigma breaking messages. The programs are implemented in collaboration with local NGOs/CBOs
Reproductive and Family Health Education (RFHE) Project
The project aims to promote sexual and reproductive health education among students for better understanding of HIV/AIDS education. The project was planned and initiated by IAPA’s Managing Trustee, Dr. Swathi through her connections with the University of California and Los Angeles (UCLA). it is an app-based life stimulation (video) game that was developed by Dr. Aparna Sridhar of UCLA, along with Dr. Elena Bertozzi, an Associate Professor at Game Design & Development, Quinnipiac University. We piloted this among 3 schools during August 2018 and envisage continuing in other schools also in the future, through the year.
Nutrition & Support
Arokiya Children Nutrition Project
“Arokiya” means “health” in Tamil language. The Arokiya Children Nutrition Project, considered as the flagship project of IAPA, aims at enhancing the wellness and quality of life of the children living with HIV in Chennai and its neighboring districts, through the provision of nutrition supplement. With India having an estimated 220,000 children infected with HIV, this project is of paramount need. (http://www.unicef/infobycountry/India_background.html). Among people living with HIV (PLHIV), Children living with HIV (CLHIV) are the most vulnerable to develop physical and emotional disruptions because of their low immune condition.
IAPA decided that the most prioritized service, in HIV care should be concentrated on improving the physical health of the CLHIV, in order to develop the strength to live hopefully with their infection status. The Tamil Nadu government provides the life-supporting Anti Retro Viral treatment (ART) for the HIV children free of cost, to enable them to prolong their lives, but the area that is not addressed is the nutrition and emotional support. IAPA envisages filling this gap, without which the children run the risk of falling into the side effects of the ARV drugs, thus seriously compromising their health conditions.
On the 2nd Saturdays of every month, the children, who are either orphans or semi-orphans living with their grandparents or one of their parents, respectively, come to IAPA office, where nutrition supplement items consisting of, health mix powder, cereals, biscuits, groundnut, jaggery milk powder, fried gram, chenna, are distributed to the children, together with toothpaste and soap. Eggs are also supplied to them, through retailers near their homes. Height, weight, CD4 count and viral load, together with relevant medical information of the children are entered into a “health record” which is maintained for each child. Thus the project monitors the progress of the children every month. During the monthly distribution one of IAPA’s Board of Trustees’ member, Dr. Anand, visits and conducts a medical check-up on each child and prescribes medicines to them. IAPA staff visit the homes of the children periodically and assess their socio-economic position, provide training in the home-based care and discuss with the children their emotional problems. Every month, the birthdays of the children who are born on that particular month, are also celebrated with the cutting of cake and singing. Once a child passes out of high school and enters college, IAPA provides the fees and educational materials for them to pursue their education. The support is provided until the young person secures a job, after which he/she is removed as a beneficiary of the project. Thus this project provides a comprehensive care and support package to children living with HIV, until they become adolescents finish their schooling and secure a job. Two presentations have been done on this project and papers have been presented at International Conferences.
Poshak Caregivers’ Project
The Project provides the caregivers of the Arokiya Nutrition Project children with provisions, consisting of 10 kgs. of rice, dhal, cooking oil, wheat powder, Chenna, two pulses, health mix, Jaggery, green gram and two kinds of dhal. This is to enable the caregiver and the family of the children to have at least one square meal a day, as most of the caregivers (mothers) are also HIV positive. The above materials are given to them, during the distribution of nutrition to the children. Since IAPA enrolls only the poorest of the poor in the Arokiya/Poshak projects, this is a great assistance for them to tide over the whole month. Caregivers are also provided education/training in home-based care, health & hygiene, nutrition, preparation of nutritious & safe food, with locally available resources.
Annam Adult Nutrition Project
IAPA supports 25 destitute women, who are widows, whose husbands have died of HIV. IAPA provides nutrition and provisions supplements to them every month. IAPA also provides periodical education programs to them in HIV/AIDS, STIs, RTIs, Care & support and Nutrition. Counseling and medical care are given to those who are in need of the same, from time to time. Read more…
Testing & Treatment
There are 2.1 million people living with HIV in India, but how many of them have been treated for HIV is a big question mark. Only when everyone is tested and care provided to them, can we reduce the spread of HIV more effectively. Hence IAPA has started conducting testing camps in collaboration with local NGOs. Testing for HIV goes on throughout the year.
UTHAVI Triage Project
UTHAVI means “help” in Tamil language, but it is the acronym for “Use of Telephone Triage to Help Avert Vulnerable situations in HIV Infected Children”. This is a 24 hour 7 days a week telephone triage network, in which caregivers of HIV positive children, will have 24 hour access via telephone to a trained worker. Thus the project aims to make HIV services readily available for pediatric patients, allowing for better care and increasing the likelihood of treatment without delay. 16 volunteer-students, mostly from the Madras School of Social Work, were given training in triage protocols, that was facilitated by Dr. Swathi, IAPA’s Managing Trustee, with assistance from 2 medical students from UCLA. In the training, they were given the skill, to determine the severity of illness, using algorithms and advise on further management, whenever they receive a call from any of the caregivers. The triage coordinators are now taking calls 24X7 and advising the caregivers and saving many lives. The details of the calls are logged in a specially designed format. The services of the telephone triage project, now limited to the caregivers of the children enrolled in IAPA’s Arokiya Children Nutrition project, will be extended to cover anyone infected with HIV, in the future. Surgeons are being identified to join them in the UTHAVI Triage Project, to create a Triage Network, so that any children requiring urgent surgical procedures can be given the same, 24X7.
Health First Project
This project is a first of its kind initiative in Chennai that partners physicians, residents, medical students and medical training staff from India and UCLA, in USA, to better the understanding and treatment of pediatric diseases. IAPA has signed MoU with Sri Kanchi Kamakodi CHILDS Trust Hospital, Chennai, by which batches of medical students and residents had been accessing the Child Trust hospital and observing the treatments there, since February 2015. Medical students are also accessing Sundaram Medical Foundation, Anna Nagar, Chennai, every year. And more students are signing up to visit Chennai and the hospitals, every year, as this project has greatly benefited the aspiring physicians in the US and the doctors in Chennai.