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   Preventive Interventions for General Population

The HIV/AIDS epidemic is alarmingly pacing up in West Bengal, with its impact on the general population (beyond the most-at risk populations) becoming more and more visible. This requires sustained and coordinated activities instead of stand-alone, one-time programmes. Key elements of preventive interventions for the general population in West Bengal include:

 Awareness Generation Campaigns

Preventive education for the general population, inclusive of the most at-risk populations, has been brought under a consolidated media plan, which encompasses a range of BCC activities. These include messaging through print and audio-visual media, inter-personal communication and the use of traditional and unconventional folk media. Multi-media campaigns like the Buladi campaign involving television, radio, newspapers and magazines, outdoor media, inter-personal communication, and social mobilization for a 360-degree coverage have also been implemented. Result showing from different independent resources there is a considerable increase in the awareness in general population in West Bengal both in urban and rural areas.

As part of IEC programme to prevent HIV in general population a very unique effort has been launched to reach people throughout the state. A Centralized system has been developed to provide counseling service on HIV/ AIDS through telephone & the number was made toll free. The programme launched on August, 2006 and generated a great response in terms of daily incoming calls attended. The figures below shows that the programme can be scale up and can be replicated to other state also. The system of telecounselling started functioning on August 2006. The analysis is based on the data received the center since August, 2006 to March, 2007.

Total valid calls in proportion to total calls remained quite founded, stood at 67%.


 Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) for HIV

VCT is the process that individuals go through to learn about their HIV status. The process is supposed to be voluntary, confidential and based on informed consent from the individuals concerned. It involves counselling prior to the HIV test , which helps people learn about HIV transmission and the likelihood of their being infected with HIV. It helps them decide if they need an HIV test, and if yes, then to be mentally prepared for the outcome of the test. If the test is undertaken, counselling follows again irrespective of the test result. If people test positive for HIV, post-test counselling helps them learn how to take care of their health. It also educates them on how to prevent passing on the infection to others and getting re-infected. If they test negative for HIV, they learn about how to stay free of HIV infection.

WBSAP&CS follows a specific protocol for VCT for HIV. Currently (end 2006) there are 46 VCT centres located in various medical colleges and hospitals, district hospitals and sub-divisional hospitals in West Bengal. Three of these centres are community-based ones, one managed by NGO Child In Need Institute, Pailan, 24 Parganas (S) district, another by CBO Durbar Mahila Samanway Committee, Kolkata and another one by NGO named SHIS, Ghatakpukur, South 24 Parganas.


 Blood Safety

The blood safety programme of WBSAP&CS has the following objectives:

  • To ensure organized blood-banking services at the state and district levels
  • To educate and motivate people about voluntary blood donation
  • To enforce quality control of blood

Presently, there are 59 government blood banks, 16 Central Govt. blood banks and 30 Pvt. blood banks in the state.


 Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission (PPTCT) Programme

The PPTCT programme of WBSAP&CS operates through 29 centres across West Bengal. These centres include nine medical colleges and hospitals and one maternity hospital. The programme is a good example of integration of HIV/AIDS prevention, care, support, and treatment services with the reproductive and child health services in the state. Honourable Chief Minister Mr. Buddhadeb Bhattacharya launched the programme on January 1, 2004. The programme started with 10 centres (9medical college & 1 maternity home), scaled up to 29 centre in the year 2006-07.


 STD Services in the state

People who have STIs (also called sexually transmitted diseases or STDs) are more susceptible to HIV infection than others. STI treatment in West Bengal is carried out through 44 NACO supported STI clinics .

 

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West Bengal State AIDS Prevention & Control Society
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