GUWAHATI, Feb 3 - A Prison Intervention Programme (PIP), taking HIV/AIDS care to the inmates of prisons, has been launched at the Guwahati Central Jail at the initiative of National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), Assam State AIDS Control Society (ASACS), Family Health International 360 (FHI360), Emmanuel Hospital Association (EMA) and Northeast Technical Support Unit (NETSU).
The project, launched on January 31, aims at improving HIV testing services and enhancing access to treatment and care services for people living in prison settings.
Dr Rebecca Sinate, project director of Emmanuel Hospital Association (EHA), highlighted the project goal at the launch of the event. Manvendra Pratap Singh, project director of Assam State AIDS Control Society (ASACS), highlighted the rationale behind the prison HIV intervention project in Assam, which is geographically surrounded by three States with high HIV prevalence.
Singh also highlighted the importance of HIV prevention for everyone, irrespective of position or location and how scaling up the comprehensive HIV prevention, treatment and care services to those living in prisons is important for accelerating the reversal of the HIV epidemic.
Ranjan Sharma, Inspector General-Prisons, highlighted the need and importance of prison HIV intervention, and expected that the project would also be started at the earliest in the five other central jails of Assam.
The IGP also assured that the Prison Department would extend its full cooperation to the implementing agency, and looked forward to the intervention, which would greatly benefit the health of the prison inmates.
T Kailash Ditya of North East Technical Support Unit (NETSU) provided a background on the prison HIV intervention in India. NACO rolled out prison interventions in North East in National Aids Control Programme-IV, a statement added.
In the North East, five prison interventions had been started, including that in Assam, in the financial year 2016-17. He further stated that the best practices of this pilot prison intervention programme should be replicated by the Prison Department in all central jails, district jails and sub jails.
Dr Govind Bansal and Kim Hauzel from NACO-Delhi gave an overview of prison intervention in the country, highlighting the initiatives, strategies and working modalities taken up by NACO on HIV intervention. Ginlalsiam Buhril, project coordinator of Prison Intervention Project on HIV, delivered a speech on the way forward for its successful implementation at the Guwahati Central Jail.