Ashraya as the name indicates is truly a “Safe Shelter” for hundreds of sex workers and non-sex workers living with HIV in the Districts of Mysore, Mandya, Kodagu and Chikmagalur. The wing was registered in April 2008 and is guided by the core values of respect and dignity for those living with HIV. Ashraya firmly believes that people living with HIV, especially sex workers living with HIV shall one day share the same platform with others in the mainstream society in terms of equality of opportunities and equal access to treatment, care and support. Ashraya has a board of 7 members consisting of female, male, transgender sex workers living with HIV. Currently Ashraya is working with over 1500 sex workers and non-sex workers living with HIV in the four districts of Mysore, Mandya, Kodagu and Chikmagalur. Ashraya has also extended its role to work among HIV-TB co-infected people in association with the District and State TB Control programs in Mysore and Mandya, where it is tasked with tracing, linking and following up with the patients.
Nurtured by parent organization Ashodaya Samithi, Ashraya utilizes the services provided by Ashodaya Samithi to its constituencies namely sex workers and non-sex workers living with HIV. Currently it provides treatment to all persons vulnerable and at high risk of STIs. Apart from providing treatment to symptomatic STI, it also works closely with the community to promote regular health check-up and periodic asymptomatic treatment.
To further address issues of stigma and discrimination in healthcare settings, Ashraya has nurtured a system of Health Care Naigators (HCN) (volunteers in healthcare settings) who would assist patients accessing these services and also develop rapport with the providers and peripheral staff to ensure more sensitive behavior towards people living with HIV.