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Bringing awareness around sexual wellbeing among different communities

Dec 03, 2019

Banega Swasth India and The Humsafar Trust join hands for strengthening community-based organizations to have a tough fight against HIV and stigma attached to it.

New Delhi: RB, world’s leading consumer Health and Hygiene Company, under its flagship Dettol Banega Swasth India aims at bringing awareness around sexual wellbeing among children and LGBTQ community with two collaboration programs.

The collaboration with ADRA, Love Matters and Itv foundation, is aimed at introducing a comprehensive sexual health curriculum for children. The program will reach out to 20,000,000 children above the age group of 10 years across 10,000 schools in seven North Eastern States of India. The goal of this project is to provide lifesaving, critical information on SRHR (Sexual and Reproductive Health & Rights) that empowers adolescents, promotes healthy behaviour, encourages community engagement and inclusion, and helps adolescents develop into healthy, responsible adults.

Banega Swasth LGBTQ India program in partnership with The Humsafar Trust aims at impacting lives of more than 1 million LGBTQ people in India. The holistic program will strengthen and bring together an Integrated Network for Sexual Minorities (INFOSEM). The program will work in partnership to ensure inclusion and mainstreaming of LGBTQ community in India through strengthening community network and capacity development of community-based organization (CBOs). The project will provide capacity building workshops, trainings and funding support to conduct activities in their region. To support this project, a range of Durex condoms, lubricants will be provided with a message of safe sex among younger LGBTQ communities.

According to the Department of AIDS Control, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, HIV and AIDS prevalence rates in Manipur and Nagaland are 1.57 and 1.2 per cent respectively and well above the national average of 0.34 per cent. Despite the North Eastern region being less populated, there are close to 100,000 people who live with HIV and AIDS in the eight north eastern states in comparison to other states in India.

The factors responsible for the epidemic are complex and can be contrasting for different regions, restricting the use of a single approach for HIV control nationally. Therefore, continuous monitoring for prevalence and causes of disease at the district level is necessary for making control programs more effective.

Addressing the issue, a group of thought leading organizations, including RB, ADRA, Love Matters and Itv foundation, have come together and designed a comprehensive curriculum aimed at improving knowledge, awareness and behaviour among children:

  • Knowledge and Awareness:

    • Improved Knowledge and awareness about sexual health, sexual risk behaviour and gender

    • Positive improvement in self-confidence, self-awareness and social skills

  • Behavioural Outcomes:

    • Increased age of sexual debut;

    • Increase in ABC – Abstinence, Be Faithful (decrease in no. of sexual partners), Use Condoms/ other contraceptive use.

Gaurav Jain, Senior Vice President, AMESA, RB Health, said, “our goal is to drive and bring behavioral change in different communities in India and encourage people to adopt better health practices by empowering them through our several initiatives. Addressing the rising problems and increased HIV cases among different communities, we have partnered with thought leading organizations to create a positive impact in the lives of these people. We are hopeful that our initiatives will bring awareness around sexual well wellness within different communities.”

Ravi Bhatnagar, Director External Affairs & Partnerships, RB Health AMESA, said, “We at RB aim at driving health and well-being narrative in India and our goal is to improve it with immense knowledge and facility residing within RB. Witnessing the alarming situation of increased HIV prevalence in North Eastern states of India, we have introduced a comprehensive sexual education curriculum in collaboration with ADRA, Itv Foundation and Love Matters.”

He added, “India needs to focus on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE). Currently, it is not a part of the usual school curriculum and most schools, teachers and parents are not qualified to provide the required information to children. Consequently, there is a lot of fear and taboo around these topics among adolescents which makes it extremely challenging and stressful for them to navigate the period of adolescence and puberty. Through this initiative we aim to break these conventional norms and improve the condition among children in these most affected states in India.”

Ashok Row Kavi, Chairperson and founder member of The Humsafar Trust, said, "On eve of World AIDS Day, RB and The Humsafar Trust are coming together for a journey of inclusion and mainstreaming the LGBTQs of India. RB partnership is true in its essence as "Swasth  aur Sukhi banega LGBTQ India". We look forward to this great partnership"

Vivek Raj Anand, CEO and Board Member, The Humsfar Trust, said,  "Health and social acceptance of LGBTQ has been at the core of Humsafar Trust and this World AIDS Day, we are greatly excited on the beginning of our new collaboration with Reckitt Benckiser who have joined hands with us to work towards equality and acceptance of the LGBTQ of India"

Vithika Yadav, Country Head, Love Matters India, said, “What we know is that most young people receive confusing and conflicting information especially in context of relationships and sex, as they make the transition from childhood to adulthood. Comprehensive Sexuality Education is the need of the hour and plays a crucial role in addressing the health and well-being of adolescents. This curriculum has been designed with a learner-centered approach; with the objective of empowering adolescents to make informed decisions about relationships and sexuality and navigate a world where gender-based violence, gender inequality, early and unintended pregnancies, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) still pose serious risks to the health and well-being.

The curriculum uses a strong story telling approach and emphasizes on values such as respect, inclusion, non-discrimination, equality, empathy and responsibility. Overall, the program takes into account cognitive, emotional, physical and social aspects of sexuality and equips adolescents with knowledge, skills and attitude needed to ensure they take informed decisions regarding their health and well-being.”

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