OCD aims to prevent the spread of HIV infections among the coastal community by providing education and facilitating the free and open exchange of knowledge. This is imperative because the mobility of the young population of the community is rapidly increasing and the young people have more interaction with other communities. Adolescent girls are provided with proper knowledge about the condition, its causes, symptoms and ways to prevent infection. Women head load fish vendors are provided awareness because they are the sole breadwinners and responsible adults in their families and need to be equipped with proper knowledge to effectively guide and monitor the behavior of their children. Through the awareness camps, 832 adolescents and 300 head load fish vendors have been provided awareness on HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. In view of the importance of this initiative and the irreversible results that may ensue in case OCD neglects to provide this vital awareness, the organization is implementing this program through its own funds.
Cervical cancer’s main underlying cause is the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted and largely symptomless infection for which there is currently no cure. Many young people contract HPV, but the infection may remain stable or become undetectable. In some cases, however, HPV leads to abnormal cell changes that can progress to cancer over many years. Around the world, this cancer is most common among women of 35 years and older. “Cervical cancer is the commonest cancer among middle-aged women in India,” and that the incidence of this particular type of cancer is rapidly rising among women of the coastal community. Breast cancer is also prevalent in the community.
In response to the above problem, OCD undertakes in collaboration with a multi-specialty hospital
OCD organizes awareness programs and campaigns to educate the adolescent girls on balanced diet needs, health and hygiene, menstruation, contraception, and responsible sexual behavior. They are trained to observe proper personal hygiene and sanitation and are provided proper instruction regarding usage of sanitary napkins. Awareness on personal hygiene and sanitation is also provided to adult women, particularly the women head load fish vendors.17 awareness camps have been conducted in in 8 different coastal villages involving health care professionals.
The Mercury Phoenix Trust is supporting HIV/AIDS awareness initiatives through a project that covers fisher folk community and focuses on 100 school going adolescent children in 5 schools and 250 out of school youth of 5 villages from Colachel harbor to Muttom harbour area in Kanyakumari district. These selected youth were trained, educated, and motivated to work as peer educators and also take care of themselves from the STD, HIV/AIDS infections and also their peer youth in their villages. The fisher folk community of 5 villages was made aware of STDs, HIV/AIDS spread and prevention measures through a professional street theater troupe who performed and educated population through cultural media.