Soon, sex workers in Kerala to flaunt health cards, offer free condoms
- The health card will have the latest information of the worker's health, including the test results of sexually transmitted diseases, HIV and syphilis.
- The pilot project is being implemented in Alappuzha.
- Soon, the health card scheme would be extended to other parts of the state.
After successfully ushering in positive changes in the fight against the spread of HIV-AIDS, Kerala State AIDS Control Society is taking its activities to the next level by launching an innovative project to check the spread with the help of sex workers in the state. The agency has started issuing health cards to sex workers, a practice effectively implemented in foreign countries where sex service is legal.
The health card has the latest information of the worker's health, including the test results of sexually transmitted diseases, HIV and syphilis. The card holder's blood sugar and blood pressure information are also recorded in the card. The last lime the sex worker underwent tests and the date of next tests can also be known from the card.
The pilot project is being implemented by Jawahar, an organisation functioning under the AIDS Control Society in Alappuzha district. Soon, it will be extended to other parts of the state. The HIV prevalence rate among sections considered as 'high-risk communities' that includes sex workers and drug addicts.
The idea is to make sex workers in the state undergo HIV tests once in every six months, and medical tests to identify other STDs in every three months. The details of the tests will be recorded on the card. The organisation is also distributing free condoms to the card holders.
At present 45 sex workers in the district are under the project. As per a statistics, the district has more than 7,00 sex workers and the society hopes to bring all of them under the health card scheme.
Intensive awareness campaigns seem to have paid off in the state as the HIV prevalence rate is slowing down in the past few years in the state. The rate came down further to 0.12 percent when compared to last year's 0.19 percent, according to Kerala Aids Control Society. Besides, Kerala achieved almost zero transmission of the infection from mother to child. The total estimated number of HIV-infected persons in the state is 25,090.