Since 2018 Blossom Trust is involved in a new government project in Tamil Nadu. The goal is to bring about behavior change among population groups whose risk/vulnerabilities of contracting STI/HIV infection are high. The program is a collaboration between the Tamil State Aids Control Society (TNSACS) and diverse NGOS and CSOs.
Trapped in a cycle of poverty due to LGBTQ stigma and discrimination, it is nearly impossible for transgender individuals to find employment. In addition, research demonstrates how social exclusion leads to a lack of education and poor sanitation. With few options to support themselves, many transgender individuals are forced to take up dangerous sex work.
As a consequence, the transgender community is vulnerable to physical abuse, sexual violence, and HIV/AIDS. A targeted intervention towards the transgender community is thus needed to work toward the larger government goal: ensuring that every person living with HIV has access to quality care and is treated with dignity.
Our Solution: behavioral change
The intervention programme targets Female Sex Workers (FSW), Men who have Sex with Men (MSM), Injecting Drug Users (IDU) and Transgender (TG)– and Bridge population which includes Truckers and Migrants. Blossom focuses on the transgender population in Kanchipuram. Interventions include condom promotion (distribution + behavior change communication) and the creation of a toll free helpline number for High Risk Groups to register complaints on stigma and discrimination. The respective District AIDS Prevention and Control Units (DAPCUs) will take the primary action. Blossom also utilises diverse strategies such as health camps and syphilis testing to identify persons with STIs/HIV so transgender individuals can receive the healthcare they need.
Improving the socioeconomic status
Besides working on behavior change to prevent STIs/HIV, Blossom also oughts to improve the socioeconomic status of the transgender communities and empower transgender individuals to become self-reliant advocates for their own rights. Through a team of peereducators, Blossom has started diverse community based activities to advocate for the health rights of the transgender community. The team aims to sensitize diverse actors such as healthcare providers, the relevant government departments and religious leaders. Furthermore community events and hotspot meetings are set up to spread awareness about gender, sex and sexuality and misconceptions.
Paneer Poo HIV + Women's Network
Paneer Poo is a support network for HIV positive women living in isolation and/or poverty. It stemmed from our Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission of HIV (PPTCT) programme.
Paneer Poo is a community based organisation which addresses the prevalence of HIV/AIDS within Virudhunagar district, Tamil Nadu, India. It seeks to empower the women in the community through advocating for women’s rights with a particular focus on property entitlement and creating employment opportunities and Self-Help Groups.
Paneer Poo has become an independent trust, securing memberships in Tamil Nadu Volunteer Health Association (TNVHA) and Partnership for Tuberculosis Care and Control (PTCC), New Delhi in acknowledgement of their work. Paneer Poo and its leaders also participate in the quarterly district advisory committee organised by the District Collector as part of an effort to ensure health and welfare of PLHA in the district.
Rainbow TB Forum
Rainbow TB Forum is a TB patients’ network in India comprised solely of past and present patients.
In 2009, a group of six young students were discriminated against at a government medical facility while being tested for TB. They decided to take a stand and work alongside Blossom Trust to address India’s status of having the highest level of tuberculosis worldwide. As a result Rainbow TB Forum was conceived and they are proud to give a voice to the voiceless.
Survive Sugar provides diabetes education, community awareness, screening, and prevention of diabetes while building a patient support network.
Survive Sugar forum aims to reduce incidence of diabetes by identifying pre-diabetics (individuals with diabetes risk factors) and referring them to free public health services.
Through educating the marginalized public by disseminating accurate medical knowledge of diabetes, its causes, methods of prevention and care, we aim to bring about behavioral changes among patients and the general population for a healthier India.
As part of an awareness-raising activity, EduClowns along with Blossom staff marched in demonstration through the Virudhunagar district center in observance of World Diabetes Day, 2015.