IEC is a cross-cutting and integral strategic intervention in all components of HIV and AIDS prevention, care, support and treatment programme. A key priority is to motivate behavior change in a cross-section of identified population at risk, including HRGs and bridge population. RSACS need to raise awareness about risk and behavior change among the vulnerable and the general population, especially youth and women. The ultimate goal is to increase demand and utilization of HIV and AIDS related health services that would create an enabling environment and which eventually reduces stigma and discrimination at individual, family, community and institutional level.
Following are the objectives of IEC.
- Motivating behavioral changes in the cross-section of identified populations at risk, including the core groups (IDUs, MSMs, and FSWs) and the bridge population groups (clients of sex workers, migrants and truck drivers).
- Raising awareness about the risks and need for behavioral change and use of condoms among the youth as well as general population.
- Increase STI treatment seeking behavior.
- Generate demand for health and ICTC services.
- Reduce stigma and discrimination and building supportive environment.
- Create an enabling environment for prevention as well as institutional and community care and support.
The need of the hour is to expand access to information and services and create conditions for people living with HIV/AIDS to live with dignity free from stigma and discrimination.
RSACS’s communication strategy aims at promoting safe behavioral practices and demand for services along with providing people with accurate and adequate information about the virus, help develop an understanding of the complex issues related to HIV/AIDS, dispel myths and mis- conception.
Messages giving accurate information and promoting safe behavior are broadcast through various mass communication media to reach people in every corner. Regular campaigns are conducted on mass media channels (TV, Radio, Newspapers) supported by outdoor (hoardings, bus panels, information kiosks etc.), mid-media (folk theatre and IEC vans) and inter-personal communication (trainings of SHGs, Anganwadi workers, PRIs, government officials, NGOs/ CBOs, corporate sector etc.). The target is general population with focus on youth and women, high risk groups, migrants, truckers and service providers.
Some of the initiatives taken in this regard includes TV spots, Long format TV programmes, Satellite & Cable TV, Audio Spots, Long format Radio programs, News paper and booklet advertisements, Media campaign, IEC material production, replication and newsletter, Outdoor and mid media ,Events , documentation, ,Intervention with out of school youth, RRC in colleges and universities, mainstreaming, trainings etc.
Some of the major events that are being organized are International Women Day, International Youth Day, National Blood Donor Day, National Voluntary Blood Donation Day, World AIDS Day to mark the days.
Technical Resource Group has also been formed with the purpose of facilitating and reviewing communication strategies, media plans and the annual communication action plan, approves new IEC approaches and material. Regular meetings of TRG are being held to seek the approval and recommendations of the members of the group on the IEC material and activities.
The Red Ribbon Express aims at harnessing the potential of the youth by equipping them with correct information on HIV/AIDS prevention, care and support and treatment . It also aims in building their capacities as per peer educators in spreading messages on positive health behavior in an enabling environment and increasing voluntary blood donation from among youth.
Its objectives are :
1.To reduce new infection among youth by raising their risk perception through awareness on sex, sexuality and HIV/AIDS
2.To induce among youth the spirit to help and support people living with HIV/AIDS. thereby reducing stigma and discrimination against PLHWAs
3.To motivate youth and build their capacity as peer educators and change agents by developing their skills on leadership negotiation and team building.
4.To promote voluntary non remunerated blood donation among youth
Over 350 Red Ribbon Clubs have been formed in educational institutions to create and provide opportunity to the zeal of volunteerism among youth to contribute in controlling and preventing the further spread of HIV/AIDS. It is noteworthy to mention that Red Ribbon Club is a voluntary on campus intervention.
RSACS held a state level function on the National Youth Day on January 12, 2013. Over 3000 youth including the members of the Red Ribbon Clubs, set up in different colleges, participated in the function. Folk performances were held on the occasion.