Avahan India AIDS Initiative was a focused prevention initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that worked in six states of India to reduce HIV transmission and lower the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections in vulnerable high-risk populations – female sex workers (FSWs), men who have sex with men (MSM), transgenders, people who inject drugs (PWID) – through prevention education and services. Alliance India was designated a state lead partner for Avahan in Andhra Pradesh (AP).
The programme’s main components included condom promotion, STI management, behaviour change communication, community mobilisation, and advocacy. Avahan also supported the creation of an enabling environment through individual and organisational capacity building to increase the effectiveness and impact of the HIV response. Alliance India’s efforts in Andhra Pradesh strengthened the capacity of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community-based organisation (CBOs) to implement quality HIV and STI programming in close partnership with the AP State AIDS Control Society (APSACS) and in alignment with the National AIDS Control Programme IV (NACP IV).
Reaching more than 85,000 FSWs, MSM and transgenders, the programme contributed significantly to HIV prevention among high-risk population in Andhra Pradesh. Health-seeking behaviour in these groups increased from 5% to 70% in the first five years of the programme. Condom distribution increased from 6.5 million to 102 million in six years. An estimated 10,000 HIV infections were averted among target populations in the 13 intervention districts in the Telangana and Rayalseema regions, and more than 450,000 people were reached through prevention campaigns and public events.