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 crucial. Foundation has initiated several HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns in high risk areas… first in Mangalore in November 2002 and later at Rajam in September 2006. Today, AIDS awareness programs are conducted at all locations integrating them with other health activities of Foundation. They also form an integral part of the awareness sessions held at the eight vocational training institutes of GMRVF.
At these programs GMRVF encourages community members, especially women and adolescents, to speak about issues related to HIV/AIDS without any inhibition. Foundation also provides information about the nearest Voluntary Counseling and Testing Centers (VCTCs).
Hope Blossoms at Vemagiri!
- The AIDS awareness programs of Foundation try to reach out to different age-groups through different media. The groups include – adult men and women, adolescents and youth, high school children, government employees and NGO representatives.
- Different methods are employed to create awareness on the subject such as holding small group meetings, competitions, rallies, and quizzes, or, staging skits, street plays, candle- light marches, community meetings only 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.
- World AIDS Day, International AIDS Orphans’ Day etc. are observed.
- These initiatives have motivated community members, especially, pregnant women and other adults from the villages to contact the local VCTC for HIV testing.
- Community members, particularly youth are coming forward to assist in the working of the MMUs.
- Foundation supports all HIV/ AIDS affected and infected people in selected communities. While educational and nutritional support is provided to the children, medical camps ar organized for adults.
For orphans who are infected/ affected by HIV, living itself is a great struggle. GMRVF channelizes the support extended by the colleagues of Vemagiri Power Generation Ltd, Rajahmundry and a few ex-servicemen to such children. The employees are providing education support to 113 AIDS orphans. Some children have been provided with bicycles. Further, 25 children are assisted with regular nutritious food support. Foundation facilitates regular Anti Retro Viral therapy and CD4 Count tests (Cluster of Differentiation 4-a glycoprotein whose count is measured to assess the immune system in human beings) for these children in collaboration with the Government Hospital, Rajahmundry. There is a remarkable improvement in the CD4 count of the children.