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Aastha Phase II

  • India
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
2008 - 2014

When the Aastha (meaning “to care and to generate hope”) project began in 2004, it sought to stop the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among sex workers and their partners. An important goal was to make the program sustainable by increasing the capacity of sex workers to reduce their risk and advocate for themselves.

Today, the Aastha project operates through a robust outreach model that strengthens support structures, such as self-help groups called Aastha Gats, and by putting crisis management teams into action. This approach applies individual tracking, micro-planning, need-based condom distribution, peer-led interventions, community events and advocacy groups to empower at-risk populations.

The second phase of this project has focused on extending services to include voluntary HIV testing and early counseling integrated with care and support components, thus providing a continuum-of-care package for people at risk of HIV infection. The project operates in Mumbai and Thane districts of Maharashtra and in Uttar Pradesh.

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