ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Incorrect Criticism

In response to the article ‘National AIDS Control Programme: A Critique’ (January 13, 2007) by Rami Chhabra, the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC) would like to raise a few points. Chhabra writes, “Sonagachi’s own surveys reveal a considerable influx into sex work.

In response to the article ‘National AIDS Control Programme: A Critique’ (January 13, 2007) by Rami Chhabra, the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC) would like to raise a few points. Chhabra writes, “Sonagachi’s own surveys reveal a considerable influx into sex work. A recent survey indicated that among the new recruits, a majority are in their teens or twenties; one-third to half engaged in group-sex; 87 per cent got pregnant; 41 per cent underwent abortion, 17 per cent three times or more; 50 per cent underwent STD treatment during the previous year; 14 per cent never used condoms; while ‘always use’ condoms indicated 90 per cent of time.” This does not tally with the following facts. The baseline survey (1992) and all the Point Prevalence Surveys (PPS) conducted in different years (1995, 1998, 2001 and 2005) were carried out in Sonagachi among the sex workers following appropriate sampling strategies with the help of technical advisors from the All India Institute of Hygiene & Public Health (AIIH&PH) and the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED). The reports are available on request. Table A reflects the actual impact of the intervention project.

The success in controlling the transmission of HIV among sex workers covered under the Sonagachi project has been verified in sentinel surveillance conducted by the National AIDS Control Organisation in different years. Till date we have not done any survey among the new recruits as claimed by Rami Chhabra.

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