In India, HIV incidence is significantly higher among criminalised and marginalised groups such as sex workers, transgenders, men who have sex with men (MSM), and people who inject drugs.

Protecting the rights of marginalised groups has been a story of ups and downs. Although transgenders and hijras were officially recognised as the ‘third gender’ in 2014, homosexuality had been re-criminalised just a few months earlier in late 2013 leading to an increase in violence, verbal abuse and discrimination against LGBT Indians.

In this difficult context, India HIV/AIDS Alliance implements the largest single-country Global Fund programme working with MSM and transgender communities. It’s called the Pehchan programme, meaning ‘identity’ or ‘recognition’ in Hindi. It’s building the capacity of 200 community-based organisations to deliver HIV prevention programmes for MSM, transgenders and hijras in 17 states across India to help ensure that they get the prevention information and support that they need.

With the Indian Department of AIDS Control withe support from the Global Fund, Alliance India also runs the Vihaan programme, a national initiative to establish and manage 350 Care & Support Centres in 31 states and territories across India to expand access to essential services, link people in to social protection mechanisms, increase treatment adherence, reduce stigma and discrimination, and improve the quality of life of people living with HIV.

They also deliver other programmes supporting harm reduction for people who inject drugs and improving HIV interventions for people living with HIV, female sex workers, MSM, transgenders, hijras and people who inject drugs, including expanding access to sexual and reproductive health services for these groups.

One of our largest Linking Organisations, in 2014 Alliance India reached 1.4 million people - including 580,000 people with HIV care and support services, and 117,000 with testing and counselling services and support. Nearly 400,000 people from marginalised groups were reached with HIV prevention activities.

Alliance India also hosts one of the Alliance’s Regional Technical Support Hubs.

Wives of people who inject inject drugs, in Bihar, India © Alliance India