Protector: HIV/AIDS and STI Information for Uniformed Personnel
Maitri understands the trauma and trials that surround uniformed personnel and their families. Soldiers spend the better part of their lives away from their families. Due to the transitory nature of their jobs, soldiers often have unstable personal lives.
Through Project Rakshak, Maitri conducts workshops with military, paramilitary and police units from across India. They provide education regarding the nature of HIV and the factors which increase the risk of its contraction. In addition, Maitri has worked to develop a curriculum for India’s military academies dealing with the topic of HIV. They are providing the tools for this curriculum to be integrated into current training programmes. Project Rakshak also works to reduce the culture of ignorance, fear, and stigmatization surrounding the disease, and to provide counselling and support to those who are infected.
Moral and sex related issues like STIs, HIV, and AIDS are not so freely discussed in the conservative communities of uniformed personnel in India. Families especially feel isolated in these circumstances where they have no access to education, information on preventative measures, dealing with stigma, emotional support, counselling, etc. Maitri is sensitive to all such issues surrounding uniformed personnel, whether they are officers, jawans, or their family members. A large number of soldiers’ wives are illiterate or semiliterate and live away from their husbands for the better part of their lives. These men serve in insurgency/terrorist/naxal areas, for large part of their service. They also need help regarding sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS.
Confidentiality is assured to all those seeking support and guidance. (That has enhanced access to voluntary testing and counselling.)
Educating the target population about healthy sexual behaviour and its advantages.
Administrating the trainer programmes that have been largely responsible for carrying information in the communities.
Developing courses for the uniformed services to be incorporated into their regular training programmes.