HIV/AIDS awareness camp for sex workers at Reshampura-Badnapura

12th Nov. 2009 

The villages of Badnapura and Reshampura are inhabited by the people of Bedia community. Bedia is a traditional sex worker community. They have been living here for more than 50 years. The history of this community shows that in olden times, the Royal families and local lords, promoted this community for their entertainment because of their expertise in signing and dancing. With time, this became a profession for this community and developed into full-fledged prostitution trade.

Further, this village is very near to Gwalior Transport Nagar through which about 3500 trucks pass everyday. Of these, about 500-700 trucks halt here every day and their stay could vary between 5 hours to 3 days

The aim of the one day health camp was to make the rural areas aware of the issues like “HIV/AIDS’ and ‘Family Planning’ and to provide them with best medical treatment & expertise health check-up , free of cost , at their door step.

We had distributed Coloring books and other vocational books like mehandi design books along with water paints and wax crayons. Children were encouraged to draw & paint to unleash their imagination and have fun. All of them loved coloring the brand new books which were hardly accessible to them otherwise.

  1. To provide free medicines and medical treatment for the people..
  2. Identification, testing for HIV/AIDS.
  3. Motivating women and make them aware of their health related issues.
  4. Uplift the community through awareness generation, health education, and strength building.
  5. We also aimed to connect the schools and Anganwadis with the community by taking them along with us for promoting education, health awareness and sanitary issues.
  6. Emphasizing on Information Education and Communication resulting in generation of awareness and change in the social scenario for women.
  7. Address entire population to bring about the relevant behavioral changes for improved health practices.

Following facilities were provided in the camp:

  • Free Gynecological check up
  • Distribution of medicines free of cost. The medicines included generic medicines, antibiotics, contraceptives, multivitamins etc
  • Free AIDS testing, maintaining confidentiality of reports
  • Awareness about reproductive & child health issues.
  • Follow up after the camp

In the camp, it was found that many of the women were ignorantly suffering from serious gynecological problems for many years (some were suffering even from last 20 years) The main reasons being illiteracy and the lack of access to avail medical treatment. All the check ups were done under the supervision of an expert gynecologist, Dr. Pooja Mundra (M.S., gynae & obstetrics) and the medicines prescribed were given free of cost . Also, the women were assured of free follow up after the camp.

AIDS testing was not an easy one to carry out. Initially the people were skeptical of being tested for AIDS but when they were assured of confidentiality about their reports, they opened up. “Prevention is better than cure”, following this phrase, condoms and contraceptives were distributed free of cost among the target population.