A significant reason for the spread of HIV/AIDS is the lack of awareness - particularly about the modes of transmission. Hence enhancing the awareness levels of the public in general and of people in the high risk category in particular is important. With this in mind, the Foundation has initiated HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns in high risk areas.
The HIV/AIDS awareness programs were initiated in Mangalore in November 2002.The program was subsequently launched in September 2006 in Rajam. Today, AIDS awareness programs are done at all locations, and have been integrated in the activities being planned by the Foundation. They are also an integral part of the awareness sessions held at GMRVF’s eight vocational training institutes.
GMRVF, through these programs, encourages community members, especially women and adolescents, to discuss issues related to HIV/AIDS without any inhibitions. Foundation also provides information about the nearest Voluntary Counseling and Testing Centers (VCTCs) to the community.
- The AIDS awareness weeks and awareness sessions of the Foundation try to reach out to different age groups through different mediums. These groups include – adult women and men, adolescents and youth, high school children, government employees and NGO representatives.
- Different methods are employed to create awareness on the subject such as small group meetings, competitions, rallies, skits, street plays, candle light marches, quizzes and community meetings to name a few.
- Various government agencies and stakeholders also support these initiatives.
- Training programs for creating awareness about HIV/AIDS are conducted for Bala Badi instructors and Vidya Volunteers.
- Designated days such as World AIDS Day, International AIDS Orphans’ Day etc. are observed.
- The initiatives have motivated community members, especially, pregnant women and other adults from the villages to contact the local VCTC for HIV testing.
- Foundation supports HIV/ AIDS affected and infected people and children in selected communities. While educational and nutritional support is provided to the children infected/affected by HIV/AIDS, medical camps etc. are organized for adults. Foundation also has provided bicycles to a few students.
Hope Blossoms at Vemagiri!
For orphans who are infected/ affected by HIV, living itself is a great struggle. GMRVF is channelizing support from colleagues of Vemagiri Power Generation Ltd, Rajahmundry and a few ex-servicemen to such children. The employees are providing education support to 46 AIDS orphans. Some children have been provided with bicycles. Further, 19 children are assisted with regular nutritious food support. In addition to the assistance provided by these employees, Foundation facilitates regular Anti Retro Viral therapy and CD4 Count (Cluster of Differentiation 4-a glycoprotein whose count is measured to assess the immune system of humans) count tests for these children in collaboration with the Government hospital of Rajahmundry. There is a remarkable improvement in the CD4 count of the children.