Reducing Vulnerabilities: Key Social Protection Schemes From a PLHIV Perspective

31 Dec 2011


This report by the  National AIDS Control Organisation highlights key social protection schemes for PLHIVs that seek to prevent deprivation, provide relief to those unable to work and enhance real incomes and capabilities.

India has about 2.25 million people living with HIV, with an adult prevalence of 0.31% in 2009. There is a steady decline in prevalence over the years from 0.41% in 2000 through 0.36% in 2006 to the current level in 2009. This trend is an outcome of effective strategies of programming in the last 3 decades in the country. At the same me the coping capacities of PLHIV to the social and economic impacts of HIV continue to challenge the uptake of prevention as well as treatment services. Impact challenges relate to, among others, job security, poor access to health care facility, low access to nutritional support and educa on for children. Studies have shown that s gma and discrimination related to HIV severely impedes access of PLHIVs to livelihood options and treatment access minimizing the opportunities to earn and remain healthy. There is, thus, a need for creative response to ensure that PLHIV have access to many of these critical needs for their sustenance.

According to the 2006 UNDP NACO NCAER study average HIV household income is lower by 34% than non-HIV households. It is also evident that HIV widow households are economically worse off than other HIV households with lower incomes, poorer living conditions, fewer amenities at home with higher borrowings or asset liquidation. Close to 40% of adults living with HIV, in the country are women, of whom 43% live alone without any kind of assets and support systems. It is clear that there is an urgent need to protect people living with HIV, especially women, from further socio-economic shocks. Social Protec on schemes play a crucial role in helping PLHIV in managing such shocks.

Social Protection refers to public interventions to assist individuals, households and communities to manage risk be er and that provide support to the critically poor.1 National AIDS Control Programme in India, with technical support from UNDP, has been focusing on improving access of the PLHIV to the existing social protect on schemes. Efforts have been made to adapt the existing schemes to include PLHIV (HIV-sensitive) as well as to initiate new schemes that direct address the issues of PLHIV (HIV-specific).

This document is an effort to put together a list of key social protection schemes that could be accessed by the PLHIVs in India. The schemes have been categorised as preventive, protective and promotive measures based on the following understanding:

Preventive - seek to avert deprivation and deal directly with poverty alleviation. They include social insurance for economically vulnerable groups and, in agriculture, strategies of crop or income diversification.

Protective - provide relief from deprivation. Examples include social assistance for those. unable to work and pensions. Other protective measures can be classified as social services, .

such as free health services.

Promotive - aim to enhance real incomes and capabilities, which is achieved through a range of livelihood enhancing programmes targeted at households and individuals, such as microfinance.

The later section contains information and analysis of some key schemes.

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