Organisations working with groups vulnerable to HIV/AIDS came together on 29 November at YMCA New Delhi for an event organised by the Pehchan programme to commemorate World AIDS Day 2011.
Pehchan, implemented by the India HIV/AIDS Alliance and a consortium of partners including Hamsafar Trust, Maan, AIDS Foundation, SAATHII, Sangama and SIAAP, commemorated the World Aids Day this year through a host of cultural activities.
The word 'Pehchan' literally means 'identity'.
The theme for this year was is Getting to Zero: Zero New HIV Infections, Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS-related Deaths.
Notwithstanding the fact that Pehchan has completed only a year, it is expected to reach over 4,50,000 people and build capacity of 200 community-based organisations working with sexual minorities by 2015.
Speaking at the event, Ms. Aradhana Johri, Additional Secretary National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), affirmed the importance of transgenders, hijras and MSM (men who have sex with men) to the national HIV prevention strategy.
According to James Robertson, India HIV/AIDS Alliance Country Director, "MSM, transgenders and hijras are disproportionately affected by HIV in this country and around the world. India has been a leader by placing them prominently in its national response."
The primary aim of the organisation is to work towards the erasure of a ubiquitous stigma that prevails against these marginalised groups.