An Extended Family for PLHIV: Vihaan Care & Support Centres
During a recent regional review meeting, the Vihaan team caught up with Prashant Malaiya, Deputy Director Madhya Pradesh State AIDS Control Society to learn more about his perspective on the Care & Support Centres (CSCs) being developed under Vihaan with support from the Global Fund. This is what he had to say:
How have Vihaan CSCs been able to bring about changes in the lives of PLHIV?
CSCs have provided a platform for PLHIV to learn through their peers. The centres have helped improve treatment outcomes and are also giving families of PLHIV an opportunity to get the support they need. The spectrum of advocacy under Vihaan has increased beyond treatment as other issues like nutrition and psychosocial support are being addressed. Advocacy from CSCs has also helped encourage improvements to treatment services.
What kind of coordination takes place between the CSCs and ART Centres?
Communication and coordination between ART Centres and the CSCs has expanded manifold which has had a positive impact on PLHIV. Increasing numbers of people who dropped out of treatment have been brought back, and more PLHIV have been linked to social-welfare schemes and basic entitlements. Treatment adherence has increased, and I have also noticed a reduction in stigma and discrimination occurring at treatment centres.
How does Vihaan differ from other care & support programmes?
The Vihaan CSCs provide an opportunity to PLHIV to access quality services. They have a holistic approach and engage with stakeholders to encourage a clear and meaningful dialogue to benefit PLHIV. The CSCs provides access to a range of quality care & support interventions using an integrated approach that complements existing HIV prevention and treatment programming. They are like an extended family for PLHIV.