Empowerment and engagement of SHG women against HIV/AIDS in India: an interventional study
Keywords:HIV, AIDS, Health education, IEC, Self Help Group (SHG)
Background: Lack of access to information and education makes women more susceptible to acquire HIV/AIDS. Self-help groups (SHGs) are seen as instruments for empowering women in the community. Realizing this, it was hypothesized that if the strategy to train SHG women brings significant improvement in the knowledge of study population about HIV/AIDS; then this strategy may be a financially sustainable and practicable method in rural India.
Objective: Empower and engage the SHG women against HIV/AIDS by creating awareness and sustaining interest through lesson plans in the IEC material.
Methods: This was a 'Multi-centric Action Research Demonstration Study'. As an intervention, series of workshops were conducted with the help of pre-developed IEC material. 400 households (200 from each intervention and control sites) of SHG women were interviewed for baseline and end line each.
Results: The planned intervention could make significant changes in level of awareness of the respondents about HIV/AIDS in terms of mode of spread, prevention and control measures and places to get tested for HIV/AIDS. This was also found effective to reduce the misconceptions regarding transmission of HIV/AIDS in the study area, thus in turn reducing the stigma attached with the disease.
Conclusion: The awareness level about HIV/AIDS in rural areas among SHG women was very low and there is an urgent need and scope for development and implementation of effective interventions strategy to train local community worker which in turn can bring improvement in the knowledge of community by providing the information in culturally acceptable manner.
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