Dr. Avnish Jolly,17 August :This article from the Chandigarh, India, Network of People Living with HIV (PLHA) discusses using a participatory approach to planning, empowerment, advocacy, and anti-stigma research and training, on the advent of the World Bank’s 3rd National AIDS Control Programme (NACP-III).
For the purpose of stimulating stakeholder participation, the network conducted a one-day workshop on ‘Consultation of PLHA, Law, and Media for Obtaining Positive Outcome of NACP-III for Sustainable Development of the Community – Chandigarh’. The event participants were PLHA, medical professionals, para medicals, lawyers, social activists, representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), academicians, and others. This article is related to the above said workshop organized in 2007 for understanding of the issue.
IThe speakers from NGOs discussed the need that PLHA have for employment which suits their health conditions, fosters a nutritious diet, and supports the regular administration of antiretroviral medicines. In addition, they addressed the need for self-organisation and empowerment amongst PHLA through education and skillbuilding. As stated here, “Throughout the workshop the speakers discussed in detail with the participants the skills required to be good peer educators. They were advised how to form networks in their areas and villages, and how the members could derive the maximum benefit from them. The participants were also empowered on different health-related issues, and different guidelines and home remedies were discussed with them in length to cope-up with stress, maintain their activity of daily life, and whom to contact during illness.”
Overcoming stigma was discussed at the conclusion of the workshop. “Because stigma has an impact on prevention and care, it is important to address it directly. However, stigma-mitigation practice has not been well informed by theory and research. An urgent need was identified for indicators of stigma, which can be used to develop interventions and measure their success.” The Drop-In Center of Chandigarh plans to begin developing indicators of HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination by focusing on the areas of:
1. “Faith-based organisations and communities as important sources of support to people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHAs).
2. National government departments as workplaces committed to dealing with stigma through good policy and practice.
3. The relationship between PLHAs and the media as an example of how empowered individuals can impact positively on perceptions and attitudes towards HIV/AIDS.”
As noted within this article, the project on developing stigma indicators consists of: a literature review; development of indicators of internal and external stigma; a qualitative study of stigma experiences and perspectives through focus group discussions and key informant interviews; a media scan; and the development of guidelines to assist those who wish to develop interventions.
The document addresses the social assessment objectives, methods, policy environment, institutional issues, and recommendations of the NACP-III. The recommendations are particularly focused on tribal populations and their inclusion as stakeholders in law and policy formulation; sensitisation of social programme staff and tribal member inclusion in existing social programmes, particularly related to health and HIV/AIDS; representation at state and national levels; and development of materials in local dialects and languages.
The document highlights the important relationship between the protection of human rights and effective responses to HIV/AIDS by including the 12 guidelines elaborated by the Consultation for States to implement an effective, rights-based response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It includes commentary on the guidelines and their implementation, according to a set of human rights principles relevant to HIV/AIDS and also enumerated in the document. Further, it discusses the 1983 Denver Principles for greater involvement of people living with HIV/AIDS (GIPA), intended to stimulate PLHA empowerment. The document concludes by reviewing several sources of advocacy guidelines, including media use of terminology related to HIV/AIDS, and capacity building and empowerment of PLHA for involvement with the media.
For the full text of this document, please consult Dr. Avnish Jolly through the contact information below.
Dr. Avnish Jolly, #3008, Sector-20D, Chandigarh -160020,India
Tel: 91 9814213809