HIV/AIDS: India is often seen as the next epicenter for a large HIV/AIDS outbreak. A large amount of social stigma still remains, preventing the populous and educated health workers from
knowing about the disease and dealing with it effectively. To tackle this major problem and this lack of understanding, IHO began to implement programs to mitigate the devastation HIV/AIDS would have in the country. Two major initiatives have been implemented: The Regional AIDS Training Center and Networking Program (RATNEI) and the Dhobi Highway HIV education and prevention project.
In 1998, IHO initiated an HIV education and prevention project among the high-risk population associated with the trucking and highway industries in India and Nepal. The project site is located at a truck stop on National Highway 2 in Gaya, i one of the southern districts of the state of Bihar. National Highway 2 is an important road link between Delhi and Calcutta. Long-distance truck drivers gather in great numbers at the truck stop to obtain highway support services and fuel, and to socialize with peers and commercial sex workers. The education workers provide individual, group, and community level education on STDs and HIV/AIDS. Services include free distribution of educational materials and free distribution of condoms along with training in their correct use. Persons who attend the center have the opportunity to receive testing and STD case management, HIV counseling and education and, if necessary, referral to the District Level Hospital.
RATNEI is the flagship program of IHO and has established itself as a regional AIDS training center in the northeastern region of India. This program trains health professionals, community health workers, and local villagers in HIV/AIDS diagnosis and prevention techniques. RATNEI trains people on all levels in the region to promote awareness and understanding of HIVAIDS and enable capacity building with the hopes this information will be disseminated from our trainees to other professionals, health workers, and villagers. The main goal of the projects are to mitigate the impact that HIV/AIDS may have in the region by training and educating appropriately