With an estimated 2.4 million individuals living with HIV/AIDS, India ranks third, next to South Africa and Nigeria, in number of HIV cases. The HIV epidemic in India is concentrated with a high prevalence among most at-risk populations including female sex workers, injecting drug users, men who have sex with men, and male-to-female transgender people.
Children under 15 years of age account for 4.4% of all infections, and 39% percent of all HIV infections are estimated to be among women (0.93 million women, 43,000 pregnant women). Four high-burden states of South India- Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu- account for 57% of HIV infections in India, while West Bengal, Gujarat, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh together account for 22% of infections. Moreover, Punjab, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh account for 12% of HIV infections.
Stemming an epidemic of this magnitude requires collaborative work among all stakeholders involved, including government, private, and civil society sectors, strong institutional capacities to carry out work, and political commitment at the highest levels both for prevention and treatment.
It is necessary to focus on all vulnerable populations, from infants born to HIV positive women to sexual minorities, whose socially marginalized status makes it difficult to reach them with information, awareness, and stigma-free services. Curbing the HIV epidemic necessitates broadening the scope of services beyond health, to encompass nutrition, psycho-social support, education, legal, livelihood, and social protection needs for individuals at-risk or living with HIV.
In response to meeting India’s needs towards achieving Universal Access, SAATHII supports government, civil society, and the for-profit sector through the following approaches:
- Technical, Operational and Financial Assistance to strengthen and expand HIV/AIDS services
- Advocacy for increased attention and political commitment on HIV/AIDS
- Research to generate evidence for an informed program response
- Knowledge transfer and sharing of HIV-related science, policy and advocacy updates
- Networking to bring people from multiple sectors together and foster collaborations
SAATHII values health responses that are rooted in science and human rights; that directly engage with affected communities; and that address issues of marginalization based on gender, sexuality and other factors influencing equitable access to quality care.
Founded in 2000, SAATHII is registered as a Charitable Trust (Registration # 637, dated August 2002) with the Sub-Registrar of Charities in Chennai. It is also registered with the Income Tax Department (Permanent Account No. AAETS3446C) and the Directorate of Income Tax Exemptions (No.301-04-05). SAATHII is also registered in the U.S.A as a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization.
Headquartered in Chennai, SAATHII has offices in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal; and implements programs in ten states of India. SAATHII is staffed by over 90 professionals in public health, social work, research, nutrition, program communication, and sexually transmitted infections.
Where is Solidarity and Action Against the HIV Infection in India (SAATHII)