Avahan is an initiative sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to reduce the spread of HIV in India. It began in 2003. As of 2009 the Gates Foundation had pledged US$338 million to the programme. The programme aims to reduce HIV transmission and the prevalence of STIs in vulnerable high-risk populations, notably female sex workers, MSM, and transgender people, through prevention education and services such as condom promotion, STI management, behaviour change communication, community mobilisation, and advocacy. Avahan works in six states, whilst India HIV/AIDS Alliance is the state lead partner in Andhra Pradesh. By 2013, control of the program transitioned to the Government of India.
|South India and Northeast States|
|Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation|
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched Avahan in 2003 for the purpose of developing a model HIV prevention system in India and promoting others in India and worldwide to adapt and adopt their model.
Rather than staffing HIV prevention workers on its own, Avahan provides government health organisations and NGOs with the tools they need to conduct HIV prevention on their own. Avahan's primary prevention techniques include the following:
- training social workers to do peer education
- funding sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing and treatment
- distributing condoms
- forcing communities who receive any aid to take total responsibility for the management of that aid
- funding social media to reduce stigma associated with STIs
- fostering access to HIV care and treatment
In 2005 an internal report determined that local people and even peer outreach workers had difficulty understanding the nature of Avahan's funded community partners. Specifically, local people had trouble understanding what services Avahan clinics and educators were offering.
In October 2011 a study published in The Lancet concluded that between 2003-8 in areas where the Avahan project was active the program lowered community rates of HIV acquisition with an increase in protection relative to increased funding per person.
- Sgaier, Sema K.; Ramakrishnan, Aparajita; Dhingra, Neeraj; Wadhwani, Alkesh; Alexander, Ashok; Bennett, Sara; Bhalla, Aparajita; Kumta, Sameer; Jayaram, Matangi; Gupta, Pankaj; Piot, Peter K.; Bertozzi, Stefano M.; Anthony, John (1 July 2013). "How The Avahan HIV Prevention Program Transitioned From The Gates Foundation To The Government Of India". Health Affairs. 32 (7): 1265–1273. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.2012.0646. PMID 23836743. Retrieved 14 May 2021.
- "Avahan – The India AIDS Initiative, Fact Sheet" (PDF). Avahan. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. December 2009. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
- Elizabeth Flock (3 August 2009). "Bill Gates' Indian Education". Forbes. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
- "Bill Gates India scheme 'spared 100,000 from HIV'". bbc.co.uk. 11 October 2011. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
- Marie Ng (2011). "Assessment of population-level effect of Avahan, an HIV-prevention initiative in India". The Lancet. 378 (9803): 1643–1652. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)61390-1. PMID 21993161. S2CID 29195137. Retrieved 11 October 2011.