Social Justice Department, NACO sign MoU to enhance outreach on HIV/AIDS prevention, empower victims

The MoU aims to empower discriminated groups such as victims of HIV/AIDS, victims of drug abuse, transgender, female sex workers and persons engaged in begging.

Created On: Aug 27, 2019 10:19 ISTModified On: Aug 27, 2019 18:16 IST
MoU signed on HIV/AIDS prevention
MoU signed on HIV/AIDS prevention

The Department of Social Justice signed an MoU with National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) on August 26, 2019 to enhance outreach on AIDS prevention, address the risk of HIV transmission among all substance users and to empower the discriminated and vulnerable groups such as victims of HIV/AIDS, drug abuse and female sex workers.

The agreement was signed by Additional Secretary, Department of Social Justice Upma Srivastava and Special Secretary and Director General (NACO & RNTCP) Sanjeev Kumar in the presence of Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr. Harsh Vardhan. 

Under the agreement, the Social Justice department and NACO agreed to coordinate and work together to ensure:
- Inclusion of target groups of NACO and National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction (NAPDDR) in the programmes of NAPDDR & NACO for awareness generation.
- Enhanced linkages and effective co-ordination between Injecting Drug Users Targeted Intervention (IDUs-TI) supported by NACO and Integrated rehabilitation center for Addicts (IRCAs) supported by DSJE.
- Education of people regarding the ill-effects of drugs abuse on the individual, family, workplace and the society at large and reduce stigmatization and discrimination against the groups and individuals dependent on drugs to integrate them back into the society.
- Development of human resources and enhancement of capacity building to strengthen the service delivery mechanisms for drug addiction treatment.
- Development of a welfare scheme to enable social inclusion and empowerment of Transgender people who face extreme social alienation thus, enhancing their vulnerability to HIV and drug abuse.
- Addressing the risk of HIV transmission among all substance users through preventive risk reduction messaging on HIV/STI and linkages with Integrated Testing and Counseling Centre (ICTC) and other services.
- Empowerment of discriminated and vulnerable groups such as victims of HIV/AIDS, victims of drug abuse, female sex workers and persons engaged in begging and transgender by nurturing a supportive and congenial environment that promotes human development by safeguarding human rights of all, providing social protection and rendering psycho-social care.
- Inclusion of female sex workers and transgender as a target group for social defence and drug addicts as a target group for NACO.
- Reduction of the incidence of social stigma and discrimination again victims of drug abuse and Children and People Living with HIV/AIDS through programme education setting.
MoU: Significance 

This is the 18th such MoU with other Government departments and ministries. The MoU will help in developing specific strategies and action plans for HIV and AIDS prevention and mechanisms for drug addiction treatment and extending social protection schemes to the vulnerable populations. 

The agreement will also help in developing human resources and build capacity to strengthen the service delivery mechanisms for HIV & AIDS prevention, drug addiction treatment and referral to services offered by National AIDS Control Programme and DoSJE. It aims at reducing the incidence of social stigma and discrimination against victims of drug abuse and children and people living with HIV/AIDS. 

The MoU will help in reaching out to the marginalised groups and will provide an opportunity for empowerment and access to social protection schemes by the high-risk population, persons engaged in begging, people living with HIV/AIDS and children affected by HIV/AIDS. 

Through the agreement, the services of various institutes under the Department of Social Justice such as National Centre for Drug Abuse Prevention (NCDAP), National Institute of Social Defence (NISD), Integration Rehabilitation Centres for Addicts (IRCAs) will be leveraged for the execution of activities laid out in the MoU.
NACO: About 
The National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), which was established in 1992 is a part of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. 
NACO is the nodal organisation for the formulation of policy and implementation of programs for prevention and control of HIV/AIDS in India.
NACO has played a very big role in significantly reducing the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in India, faster than the global rates. 

India has seen more than 80 percent decline in estimated new infections from the peak of the epidemic in 1995. Similarly, estimated AIDS-related death also declined by 71 percent since its peak in 2005. 

According to UNAIDS 2018 report, the global average for the decline in new infections and AIDS-related deaths from peak has been 47 percent and 51 percent. 

The Indian government has set a goal to eliminate HIV/AIDS by 2030.

Source: PIB

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