Friday, March 31, 2023

Tata Steel’s awareness on HIV/AIDS among truckers


Jamshedpur, Dec 1: With an aim to minimize the spread of HIV infection among the long-distance truckers and helpers, Tata Steel Foundation took an initiative for spreading awareness about HIV/AIDS and getting the drivers tested for HIV at the Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre (ICTC). 

The project is being run in five truckers halt points in Jamshedpur at Dimna, Burmamines, Jugsalai and Baliguma. We work in collaboration with Tata Motors’ Parivar Kalyan Sansthan and Family Planning Association of India for conducting health camps and eye camps.  Candle light Memorial Day and World AIDS Days are observed through the project. Rally, nukkad natak, quiz competition etc. are also organized in World AIDS Days. 

Tata Steel Foundation as part of its social initiative has reached a total of 55608 truckers through clinical care and awareness programs in last one year.

Long-distance truck drivers and their helpers spend months at a stretch on the highways and thus are away from their home for extended periods of time. These truckers are more likely to engage in high-risk sexual behaviour than short-distance truckers. They often end up having multiple sexual partners, including female sex workers (FSWs) on the highways, or have other fixed partners enroute or at places where they stop for rest or food. This results in a higher prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STI) among truckers than among the general population. Truckers are also reported to have sex with male sexual partners resulting in high risk for contracting HIV/AIDS and STI.

The Objective is adoption of safer sexual behaviour and practices by the truckers through dialogue-based peer-led Interpersonal Communication (IPC) and Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) strategy.  To promote use of condoms among truckers through improving access, reduce the incidence of various Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) among truckers through appropriate clinical intervention and creating an enabling environment by involving different stakeholders in their activities at intervention locations for the programme sustainability.

Project Activities involve clinical services for management of STIs and general healthcare, interpersonal communication, audio – visual shows and health games for creating awareness on HIV/AIDS. Nukkad nataks are also conducted to create awareness among truckers on HIV/AIDS, health camps are organized for general health check-up, dental care and eye check up,  HIV screening at the clinic and referral to ICTC, linkages with ART centre, condom promotion through condom supply at clinic and advocacy meeting with transporters and other organization working with driver to create enabling environment for truckers regarding HIV/AIDS program.

World AIDS Day takes place on 1 December each year. It’s an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day.

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