On March 20, 2014, Ankur Srivastava and Shruta Megle, research program managers from the Humsafar Trust, in Mumbai, India, visited Einstein as a guest of its Global Health Center. Before a gathering of students and faculty in the fifth floor conference room in the Price Center/Block Research Pavilion, the duo described their current programs through the presentation, "India's 'Hidden' Populations: Challenges and Solutions to HIV Prevention in Men Who Have Sex with Men and Transgender Communities."
Humsafar Trust (HST), India's first and largest LGBT community-based organization, has been conducting outreach and advocacy around HIV prevention, testing, linkage-to-care and overall health promotion for LGBT and other populations that include men who have sex with men (MSM). The organization also offers comprehensive primary care services, testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, mental health counseling, linkage-to-care services for HIV treatment, and a variety of other social and advocacy services. The presenters described how they've been successful in reducing the culturally ingrained stigma that exists toward MSM and transgender individuals through their use of community-based models to increase access to healthcare for this population.
"Whether in the U.S. or abroad, members of LGBT communities experience health disparities that are important to address," noted Dr. Viraj Patel, assistant professor of medicine, who has worked with the organization. "It was inspiring to learn about the efforts by Humsafar Trust to provide healthcare access to this very vulnerable population."
In addition, HST members have been developing their research capacity since 2004, receiving research and program funding from the Clinton Global Initiative, Gates Foundation, Global Fund, National Institutes of Health and others. They are currently focused on replicating their community outreach model across 47 cities throughout India.
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