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Home > News > PTI

Gates foundation, Maharashtra sign MoU for AIDS prevention

February 09, 2004 23:49 IST

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with a corpus of over $2billion, is joining hands with Maharashtra to launch AIDS prevention programmes targeting the youth and high-risk groups.

One of the biggest funding by the foundation in India, the programme will be implemented in 12 high HIV prevalence districts identified by the Maharashtra State AIDS Control Society. MSACS Project Director Sanjay Sawant and Ashok Alexander, director of Avahan, which spearheads the Foundation's AIDS initiative in India, signed the MoU at Mantralaya in Mumbai on Monday afternoon in the presence of Deputy Chief Minister Vijaysinh Mohite Patil.

With the MoU, Maharashtra became the only state with four agencies - MSACS, MDACS, AVERT and Gates Foundation - working towards AIDS prevention. AVERT is a USAID-funded project currently underway in the state.

According to Health Minister Digvijay Khanvilkar, the funds, approximately Rs 138 crore, will be used to generate awareness among the youth and commercial sex workers (CSWs) in the state.

Alexander hoped that the Foundation's efforts in would go a long way in making a substantial difference to curb the AIDS epidemic in Maharashtra where HIV has infected over 1,000,000 people. Twenty-two of its 35 districts are classified as high-prevalence (where HIV prevalence is over one per cent) by the MSACS.

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