activities was held. Preventive activities, like performance of education programs, condom promotion to prevent HIV/AIDS and strengthening of clinical services for HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases did not start until 1992.
To strengthen the AIDS programs at the state level, the state governments have own organisations and committees. These take the policy decisions for implementation of the HIV/AIDS control program and make guidelines and plans in the respective states.
NACO was established by the Government of India in 1992 and the organisation is trying to reach the young people through different special programs. One of them is School AIDS Education Programme which focuses on improving HIV awareness, helping young people to refrain from risk behaviours and instead develop a safe lifestyle. The program is running by the teachers in the schools using the special module “Learning for Life” . Another program is The Universities Talk AIDS Project for college students. This program is not only dealing with HIV/AIDS but also questions regarding relationships, marriage, sexuality and drugs. This programme is carried through with the help of seminars and workshops. It is estimated that this programme has reached over 7 million young people in India since the start in 1991. There is also a program meant for the out-of-school youth in the rural areas called The Villages Talk AIDS programme. This is a very important program since up to 100 million young people (10-25 years) are out of school in India (4).
HIV/AIDS awareness programs in Nannaj In 2002, a HIV/AIDS awareness program started in Nannaj. This program is a part of the preventive health care of the community health and was carried out at St Luke’s Health and Welfare centre. The program goals were to create awareness about HIV/AIDS, implement counselling services at doorsteps, take preventive measures against the spread of AIDS and to provide rehabilitation to the families of HIV infected patients. The target group was the reproductive age of the community, and especially girls and adolescents. In 2002, five villages in and around the Nannaj area were included in the program. In 2003 it was extended to ten villages. Activities that took place was health camps, seminars for high school students, teachers and medical staff, film shows, street play and HIV testing at health camps and in hospital.
In 2003, 216 HIV tests were done at the health centre in Nannaj. Of those, 5 tests were positive. 6 out of the tested were men, 2 of them were positive. For women screened in association with tubectomy, 2 out of 69 (3%) tested positive. The remaining 151 women were screened at the antenatal care and one of them was HIV positive (0.7%). HIV testing was also performed in the surrounding villages. Of totally 584 tested in the villages, 3 were positive.
A baseline study of HIV awareness among students in secondary school (age 15-20) was done in January 2002. The study was performed in Bibi Dharphal and Ranmasale, villages in the Nannaj area. The study was followed up in November 2002, to see if the HIV awareness programme had improved the knowledge. In the first round 98% had heard of HIV and 95% knew that the disease is sexually transmitted. After intervention there was a significantly improved (p<0.05) knowledge about other ways of transmission, such as intravenous drug use and breast feeding. Before intervention, 81% of the students knew that HIV is spread by intravenous drugs, compared to 98% after intervention. The corresponding numbers for breast feeding were 56% before intervention and 68% after. They also had a better knowledge about the symptoms of the disease. Fewer students had the misconception that HIV is spread just by