HIV positive people protest outreach workers’ sack


New Delhi : Nearly 500 HIV positive people and those suffering from AIDS Tuesday staged a rally in the capital demanding that all the outreach workers who were ousted by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) should be retained.

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NACO has decided to outscource its outreach work to a private agency – Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) – and, therefore, terminated the services of the outreach workers from the positive networks March 31.

Hari Singh of the Indian Network for People living with HIV/AIDS said: “I met the director general of NACO earlier and he said that once the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the private agency is signed, they will hire the services of the outreach workers once again. But that will take at least six more months”.

“Therefore, we are now demanding that these outreach workers, most of whom are HIV positive, should be retained in their jobs until all formalities are complete. As it is, they earn a miserly Rs.3,000 per month…with no jobs, they are left with no option,” he added.

Outreach workers are considered entry points through whom antenatal activities are conducted. These workers are given definite geographic areas to search for pregnant woman who may be infected and if found positive, follow her up till delivery and also administer Neverapin, a drug for prevention of transmission of HIV virus.

They also help in spreading awareness.

“Another of our demands is the passage of the HIV/AIDS bill urgently. We also demand that there should be more support and services for infected and affected women and children,” Singh said.

HIV positive people and activists from states like Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh participated in the rally.