HIV/AIDS and STI Prevention Program
SMC started an HIV/AIDS and STI Prevention Program in 1995 with funding from USAID. At the initial stage, SMC began a communication program to promote HIV/AIDS prevention, which included awareness creation, community sensitization, advocacy, condom promotion and sales, and development of IEC/BCC materials. The current phase of the program, which started in October 2009, is being implemented with funding from USAID and in partnership with FHI360. Called “Modhumita”, the program aims to provide high-quality services to the general population, especially to clients of sex workers, to keep HIV prevalence rate at a low level. Funding of the program will continue until July 2014.
Modhumita is implemented through 10 service centers located at high risk areas of the country. They include Tejgaon,Tongi, Mymensingh, Rajshahi, Hili, Benapole, Khulna, Sylhet, Barisal and Chittagong. The centers offer a variety of services including Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) for the diagnosis of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), TB diagnosis, family planning counseling and services, blood grouping and community awareness on HIV, STI, TB and FP related issues. Under the partnership, SMC also provides support to FHI in the procurement of condoms, lubricating gel and their distribution through the network of Modhumita Health Centers. The program, in collaboration with International Organization for Migration (IOM), implements special activities for the migrant population of the country. In addition, the program also works with people in uniform including Police, Ansar, VDP and BGB personnel to raise their awareness and increase the utilization of services.
Each service center is managed by one Program Officer and other staff including a Counselor, a Lab Technician, two Program Organizers, a Sputum Collector and a part time Doctor. SMC-trained outreach volunteers visit nearby areas having high concentrations of the target groups, such as red light areas, truck garages and communities with migrant workers to conduct interpersonal communication and make referrals to the centers.
SMC-Modhumita collaborates with several other implementing agencies including Asia Foundation, Nitol TATA, Islamic Foundation, BMET and the GOB (Health and Family Planning, Social Welfare, Youth and Development) to strengthen the referral network and to increase utilization of services.