Effort to brace anti-HIV/AIDS campaign through barbers

Effort to brace anti-HIV/AIDS campaign through barbers

NAHARLAGUN, Feb 13: A one day sensitization programme on ‘Cut and Talk on HIV/AIDS’ for barbers was organized by the Arunachal Pradesh State AIDS Control Society (APSACS) here today.

As many as 80 barbers from 51 salons from Naharlagun township participated in the programme.

Koj Tara, Asstt Director (Youth Affairs), APSACS informed that the ‘Cut and Talk on HIV/AIDS’ is a pilot project wherein barbers were involved to create awareness on HIV/AIDS, Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) and condom promotion. Free condom pick-up boxes will be put up at strategic locations and serviced by the salons.

He added that a man who visits salon spend at least 30 to 45 minutes in shaving and hair dressing. During this duration, barber will talk on HIV/AIDS, STIs and offer a packet of condom from pick-up box to his customer. It is aimed to protect sex acts that can put someone at risk of HIV, STI and/or unwanted pregnancies.

The targetted population for this campaign are youth and men in reproductive age, those who visit salons of Naharlagun township. At the end of every month condoms distribution and stock update shall be monitored APSACS.

He explained that the condoms will be promoted as a method for dual protections (providing protection against HIV and other STIs as well as against unwanted pregnancies) through strategic communication approaches towards normalization of condoms.

The normalization of condoms would include (but not limited to) the concepts that increase the perceptions of positive social support, social norms, self efficacy in taking, carrying and use of condoms without embarrassment.

Dr Riken Rina, Project Director APSACS, in his inaugural speech, informed that ‘Cut and Talk on HIV/AIDS’ strategy is first-of-its-kind programme in the country under National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) to promote condom through salon.

While explaining about mode of HIV transmission and its preventive measures, he urged the participants to equip with correct and complete knowledge about HIV/AIDS and pass it to their customer as knowledge is the only prevention to HIV/AIDS.

Stating that HIV/AIDS no longer remains an issue of Health department only, he called upon the civil society to come forward to share responsibility in prevention of HIV/AIDS in the state.

Karjo Basar, Assistant Director (Mainstreaming) explained various condom promotion strategies under NACP and its usages.

He also highlighted different social protection schemes provided to People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA) in the state and requested the participants to inform any known PLHA to avail of the schemes.

Later, condom pick-up box, stickers and IEC materials for display were distributed to the participants, said an official release.

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