National Consultation on Issues of Transgender/Hijra Community
Date: 30 October, 2009
Venue: New Delhi UNDP India supports the current National AIDS Control Programme of India across nine states, helping the national programme expand its reach and become increasingly more inclusive of those vulnerable to HIV. It approaches this support to the NACP3 from the gender and rights perspective, with a significant emphasis on stigma reduction and greater involvement of PLHIV and members of key populations.
The practice of male-to-male sexuality in India is very complex and in many ways, unique; MSM and transgenders (TG) as a group have emerged as a core high risk group in the national HIV/AIDS programme. According to recent sentinel surveillance data in India, sero-prevalence among MSM and TG populations is greater (5.69%) than among female sex workers (5.38%). Interventions among MSM and TG are still very new and do not perhaps reach the most vulnerable.
The mainstream society in India does not always accept Transgender/Hijras, who are often, objects of ridicule, mockery and exploitation. The social and cultural practice of exploitation with discrimination coupled with poverty, illiteracy and limited opportunities of employment have forced the community onto a path of high-risk behavior including sex work. The combination of high-risk behaviour with limited prevention alternatives has resulted in increased vulnerability of TG Hijras to HIV and STI.