Study regarding the contribution of organizations and networks of people living with HIV to the GIPA principle
A. Lopez Mejia1, A.A. de Goei2, V. Groverman3
1Stop AIDS Now!, Policy, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2Consultancy Tanne de Goei, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 3Verona Groverman Consultancy, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Issues: Greater involvement of PLHIV, stigma, poverty, capacity building, diversity and gender within organizations of PLHIV
Description: Organizations and networks of PLHIV play a key role in the implementation of the GIPA principle, since they represent the interests of PLHIV and give them a voice. This comprehensive study on the GIPA principle involved 6 organizations of PLHIV in Africa, 4 in Asia, 4 in Latin America, 1 in Eastern Europe and 4 regional/global. It showed that, in general, PLHIV organizations and networks involve PLHIV in the implementation of their activities and to a lesser extent, in decision-making processes. The Zambian network of PLHIV, though, is a good practice example of including their members in decision making: support groups are formed at community-based or faith-based level and in workplaces. The groups identify issues they want to address. These are communicated to the head of district chapters who incorporate the issues in the plans of action.
The main barriers mentioned by PLHIV to be involved were: fear of stigma or actual discrimination (68%); and poverty (47%), including exclusion from access to education. 21% of the organizations indicate that belonging to a minority or marginalized group (such as ethnical and sexual minorities, drug users, commercial sex workers) hinders their involvement. A great majority of PLHIV are not aware of the principle, do not understand what GIPA is and often lack skills to make effective use of the principle.
Next steps: To overcome these barriers, PLHIV-organizations should ask their donors for support on long term and tailor-made capacity building. This support will improve inclusion of diverse groups, as well as broaden their institutional relations, in order to alleviate poverty of PLHIV more effectively. Such capacity building will better define how to combat stigma and promote the involvement of PLHIV while addressing HIV/AIDS in poverty reduction programs.
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