HIV/AIDS: 46 responses to a global challenge

PATNEP - Patenschaft Nepal

Von Martin Boess

The living conditions for women working in the sex trade (Commercial Sex Workers, CSW) in Nepal are very bad. For years, different NGO’s have been trying to improve the living conditions of CSW’s, but most of them offer programs intended to get the CSWs out of the sex trade. Unfortunately, the success of these programs is very limited, because most of the women are in the sex trade for economic reasons, to make a living for the women themselves, their children and their families. In order to get the women out of the sex trade there has to be sufficient income for the CSWs through other activities. Otherwise it is not possible to get them out of the sex trade. In regard of the existing economic situation in Nepal, there is no realistic activity that will earn the equivalent amount of money as the sex trade. Therefore we assumed that it cannot be the foremost idea of the project to get the women out of the sex trade. The actual situation is driving even more women into it. To successfully fight the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the CSWs’ collaboration is of major importance.

The project PATNEP focuses on new approaches to deal with the CSW’s problems. It tries to get the CSWs organized, to give them a chance to identify and express their needs and to find new options to improve their living conditions. To offer them basic medical services as an approach to fellow CSWs follows the request identified by CSWs during discussions with them. The «Patenschaft Nepal Clinic» is established near the Shanti Nagar Gate close to Main Road. At the request of the CSWs, three foster families for up to 10 children each were opened, located in Koteshwar in three separate establishments. Non-Formal-Education is offered daily to CSW in the Bishnumati / Bangumati area.

General Project Objective
To improve the living conditions of CSWs in Kathmandu/Nepal.

Specific Objectives

  • To create basic medical services for CSWs
  • To organize the CSWs
  • To keep the CSWs’ children away from the sex trade environment

Project’s Activities

Health Care facility for CSWs

  • Running of clinic
  • Treatment of HIV positive people
  • Counselling
  • Referral
  • Free supply of condoms

Initiation and assistance to organize the CSWs

  • Organizing meetings for information on different topics
  • Organizing meetings for the discussion of their interests as CSW
  • Training for leaders of CSWs
  • Communication and interpersonal skills development through non formal education

Care and support for HIV positive people

  • Pre- and Post-Test counselling
  • Symptomatic and Ayurvedic treatment to those who look for treatment
  • Meeting place for HIV positive women
  • Self-organization for HIV positive women

Activities for the CSWs’ children

  • Treatment of basic medical and physical problems of the CSWs’ children
  • Physical support to CSWs’ children
  • Three foster families established with 10 children each
  • Lodging and food for the children in the foster families
  • Schooling to the children in the foster families
  • Non formal education to the CSWs’ children in their residential area

Swiss organisation(s)

Aids Info Docu Switzerland


Dr. Puspha Bhatt (Project Leader)
Aids Info Docu Nepal (local NGO)
Selbsthilfe Dritte Welt e.V., Deutschland
PLATO-Foundation, Liechtenstein
Dr. Raphael Baltes, Basel

Key words

Prevention and health promotion
Human Rights and integration of patients into Society
integrated approaches
Empowerment of self-help organisations
Children and orphans

Land, region

Nepal, Kathmandu

Time frame

Implemented in 1997; to be continued


Martin Boess, Aids Info Docu Switzerland
Speichergasse 29
3001 Bern
Phone 031 312 12 66

Related publications

Retrospective analysis of symptomatic Patients with a HIV infection receiving an Ayurvedic Preparation (Geriforte). Poster presentation at the VI International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific in Melbourne, October 5-10, 2001:

Sex Work in Kathmandu: An attempt for prevention of child prostitution. Notes for an oral presentation at the VI International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific in Melbourne, October 5-10, 2001:


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