Reaching out to the most disadvantaged and stigmatised communities in India

MSM

IPPF’s Senior HIV/AIDS Adviser Alan Smith visits family planning association of India (FPAI) clinics offering services for the transgender community in Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore.

I visited family planning association of India (FPAI) clinics in Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore, offering services for the transgender community.

In Mumbai we visited the Tilak Nagar clinic near the Shivaji Nagar slum. The transgender population served by this clinic do not wait for the specialised weekly clinic, but just walk in with their friends at any time during the clinic hours.

This is truly stigma-free integration in practise. The clinic has been helping transgender people for many years. If they have any specific problems then they attend a specialised weekly clinic.  Referral services have been established with two other clinics - Elixir Hospital in Dadar, and the Ageless clinic in Ghatkopar – for specialist services like laser treatment, hormonal therapy and breast implants at nominal rates to FPAI clients.

In Chennai the clinic provides hormonal therapy to transgender groups, along with group counselling and feedback.  Group counselling sessions are popular with transgender people  and their friends. The discussions focus on side effects (real and perceived) of hormonal therapy and sex re-assignment surgery.

In Bangalore, they have introduced an ‘Access Card’ scheme so that transgender people can access sexual and reproductive health services anytime from the branch. The Access Card holder is entitled to a free service from the branch for one year after paying a small registration fee. Whenever she presents the card in any of the health sessions or at the clinic they are given services, as a priority, along with their partners.

These three examples show that FPAI is truly reaching out to serve the most disadvantaged and stigmatised communities.