Sunday, Dec 22, 2002
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By Our Staff Reporter
This was one of the main suggestions at the end of a "strategic planning" meet of commercial sex workers organised by the partner NGOs of the Chennai Corporation AIDS Prevention and Control Society (CAPACS) in the city a few days ago.
More than 100 sex workers identified by the NGOs held day-long discussions on the challenges they faced in practising safer sex.
Apart from the doctors making fun of their profession at times of diagnosis, the sex workers also suffered continuous harassment from the police. "They fear carrying condoms in their hand bags as the police arrest them on seeing the contraceptives. The sex workers had also narrated instances of how the police ignored their complaints against misbehaving clients," one of the participants said.
At the meet, the HIV risk group pointed to slackness in the distribution of condoms by the government agencies. A decision was made to improve the general awareness among police and the public.
Another demand pertained to the provision of privacy for counselling on HIV/AIDS at the Government hospitals and the need to employ female doctors to screen the female patients.
The Chennai Corporation representatives took up a suggestion that their health posts be upgraded to provide treatment for STD.
Meetings with the sex workers would be organised regularly to facilitate them gain self-confidence, CAPACS NGO advisor, G.Kumaresan, said.
The network of NGOs, working in the area of AIDS prevention, could take up the responsibility of linking the patients to the health posts, UNICEF consultant for AIDS, P.Kuganandam, said.
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