The rescue of drowning — the handiwork of drowning: as prostitutes India stopped the HIV epidemicPictolic
HIV in India just a few years ago was very serious and the experts predicted widespread epidemic of a fatal disease. Today the country is one of the few in Asia, which threatens nothing. Oddly enough, but this is not the merit of doctors and government, and workers in the sex industry.
For the first time experts who attended to the situation with HIV in India in 2002. The number of infected has increased at such a pace that the best estimates are that, by 2010, the country had to be at least 25 million carriers of the virus. On average in the country were infected with HIV at least 1000 people a day. Already in 2002, in India, there were 2 million orphans who have lost family because of this disease.
By all parameters, India is prepared to become a champion for HIV in the world and the problem it could not solve either on their own or with the assistance of international organizations. The problem is greatly complicated by the high population density and its poverty and low level of education. However, soon the danger had passed and the bigger the disaster the country is no longer threatened.
One of the organizers of the campaign to save the country from the HIV epidemic, Ashok Alexander (Ashok Alexander), not accepting congratulations and considers that his merits are rewards. He argues that anyone should be say thank you, it's the Indian prostitutes. This story, undoubtedly worthy of attention, Alexander has written a book that has been translated into 12 languages.
Ashok Alexander comes from a very wealthy Indian family. In his youth he received a decent education and have taken a good senior position in one of the large corporations. But the man was not interested in money or career — he left the quiet life for HIV and became a regular field officer.
Prostitution is an integral part of the life of any Indian city. Trade body is everywhere — in parks, on benches in bus stops, under bridges, in filthy, littered with debris doorways. Only 7% of prostitutes working in brothels and their activities are more or less can be controlled.
To start the campaign against HIV, its organizer had to learn more about workers in the sex industry — the conditions in which they treat their customers, how many men they have on the day, who they are, how they work and what made them choose this profession.
Unfortunately, in the beginning, Ashok and his colleagues are faced with a serious problem. To receive information directly did not work, as representatives of the oldest profession was not going to contact with outsiders. Therefore, necessary for the start of the campaign, data was collected about his friends and companions the girls, passing them then to handle the employees of the organization Ashoka.
When prostitutes hear from the mission that you can die from AIDS several years after HIV infection, they take it as a joke:
So Alexander explained his indifference to security measures, the 25-year-old hooker Shadows. To convince such people to take care of yourself is very difficult, but necessary to save millions of lives. Despite this apathy, some girls refused to assist in gathering information and, through their efforts, managed to collect a large array of important to work data.
One of the first and most important steps that have been taken by Ashok and his companions, was the organization of a special "rest rooms" for sex workers. This space, equipped with all necessary things that a woman could relax, take care of yourself and just to feel human. These premises are equipped shower, there are personal care products and products.
Here it is possible to stay away from rough pimps and annoying customers, and to obtain, if necessary, medical care, specialist consultation and tests. Also here the girls give out condoms and conduct lectures on how to protect themselves, to avoid contamination.
Being by nature a leader, Ashok Alexander has excellent organizational skills and great powers of persuasion. Due to his difficult work, the quality of life for many prostitutes had improved significantly, and some of them decided to help the organization in its important work. Alexander says he sees many women who were at the bottom, the makings of leaders and organizers. Moreover, he whether in jest, whether seriously says that some prostitutes are more suitable for management of large companies than being at their posts of top-managers.
Ashok believes that these qualities appear in women, not suddenly — they are the result of years of work. Prostitutes are forced to constantly negotiate, to bargain, to resolve small and large conflicts as well as to deal with financial difficulties and physical exertion. Now sex workers are the most important driving force behind the nonprofit organization "Avahan", headed by Alexander.The case of Ashok and his associates is actively developing. In just two years the HIV infection has covered 550 cities of India, and even after a year of "Avahan" officially declared the world's largest private company involved in the fight against HIV.
Alexander in every interview repeats that the success of the campaign is the merit, first and foremost, sex workers. Without information about their lifestyle, household, medical and personal problems, the effective work of the organization would be impossible. "Avahan" in the period of most intensive work, assisted by 270 thousand prostitutes in 672 cities across the country. Total cost of the program exceeded 375 million dollars, but, thanks to timely taken measures, the threat of the HIV epidemic receded.
India has 2.1 million HIV carriers, which allows us to speak about the index of the incidence of 0.22%. This figure is lower than in the United States and many other countries with a high standard of living. Sadly Ashok says the fact that his voluntary assistants, no one said thank you and probably will never say, because in India about HIV, unfortunately, is accepted.