Author: Lazarus, Lisa
To meet the HIV prevention needs of sex workers in India, well-coordinated community-based organizations (CBOs) have integrated peer education and community mobilization into structural interventions. As the role of CBOs continues to expand into new service areas, it is important to understand how people who frequent these organizations receive these new interventions. This paper draws on an agency assessment conducted by Ashodaya Samithi in 2009, a CBO led by female, male and transgendered sex workers. In the past year, HIV+ sex workers of Ashodaya have registered their own organization, Ashraya. Based on qualitative findings, this paper describes how community-based empowerment programs can play important roles in improving access to care and antiretroviral (ART) treatment adherence. The rapid growth of Ashraya and its success at fostering social solidarity and large-scale structural interventions hold valuable lessons for community-based organizations and public health practitioners working in the field of HIV/AIDS.
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