‘Marketplace’ Profiles HIV/AIDS Prevention, Care Program for Commercial Sex Workers in Mumbai, India
APM's "Marketplace" on Thursday reported on a peer education program in Mumbai, India, that uses the "existing brothel hierarchy" to help prevent HIV transmission among commercial sex workers and their clients. The initiative -- which is called the Saheli project, meaning "girlfriend" in Hindi -- is headed by Dr. Ishwar Gilada, who began the program with a grant from the Ford Foundation. Gilada also runs a mobile clinic that cares for HIV-positive people in the city. Under the program, brothel owners employ managers who oversee the brothel's rooms and assign a "saheli" to each room. Each saheli manages 25 commercial sex workers, educating them about HIV/AIDS, providing them with condoms and bringing them to the clinic or hospital if they become sick. Using this system, each brothel can reach 1,300 sex workers. Approximately 100,000 women in Mumbai are commercial sex workers (Small, "Marketplace," APM, 4/7).
The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.