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So far we have nine common principles which have emerged from the experiences. Are these relevant in your experience. Have you expeiences already shared or you are able to share other experiences which have different principles. A "principle" is a message that you can take from a story or experience. Try to frame the principle in the for If...(some action takes place)...then..... (this will be the result).

1. If you tap into the culture of young people they will apply what they know already

2. When individuals become role models, they inspire and empower their community

3. Involving religious leaders is key to make HIV/AIDS programmes a success

4. If you have clear information, support and access to knowledge, you can be brave dealing with your HIV status

5. If you convince communities that HIV is their problem, they will start taking care

6. If local people transfer the information in their own community, they prevent AIDS in their community

7. If you accept yourself, then you accept others

8. When we start sharing and discussing about the HIV infection then we are all able to understand it better

9. If you involve leaders traditions and policies can be revisited

Are these relevant in your experience. Have you experiences already shared or you are able to share other expeiences which have different principles. A "Principle" is a message that you can take from a story or experience. Try to frame the principle in the for If...(some action takes place)...then (this will be the result).
A "Common Principle" is a principle derived from more than on experience or situation.

Add your Principles and Common Principles here. Reference the story - on the blogs or write them here. If you have a comment on the existing Common Principles then share your experience.

As we grow this shared view of common principles we will learn together how to deal with Acknowledgement and Recognition, take a step towards becoming AIDS Competent and help others to do so too.

Laurence & Geoff


In this forum, we will take three steps towards a global knowledge asset on Acknowledgement & Recognition:

1. We define a common vision of success in terms of acknowledgement and recognition (level 5).
2. We share our experience in addressing acknowledgement and recognition of HIV as an issue that concerns us, our community
3. We discuss and define the common principles emerging from our individual experiences
Therefore, as a first step, we now invite you to share with friends on this forum: what is success in terms of acknowledgement and recognition of HIV? What is you personal dream? What is the ‘dream’ situation for our own community? What will an AIDS Competent community have in place in terms of acknowledgement and recognition?

Please share your vision or dream here of what a great community acknowledging and recognizing the issue would be like, look like, sound like or feel like.

To start you off here is an example of what was dreamed by participants at the 2009 knowledge fair in Chiang Mai:
'There is no stigma and discrimination. HIV/AIDS is considered a normal disease and everybody uses their strengths to respond. Positive people set the example. People can live together as human beings. Everybody knows their status and can share it with others. Everybody is concerned and mobilises resources for prevention and care (we act together).'

If you have an example of acknowledgement and recognition that may inspire others please share it as a blog. Tag it 'Acknowledgement' so others can find it easily.

We look for ward to your dreams!

Laurence and Geoff

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Dear Geoff and Laurence,

I missed the Knowledge fair. However, I will try to make up with my vision or dream of what a great community acknowledging and recognizing HIV as a concern:
Apart from there being no stigma and discrimination, there would be as a consequence, no hesitation especially by People Living with HIV (PLHIV) to access all prevention and care services provided or present in the community.
Leaders in the Community if they are PLHIV would come out in the open and set an example of disclosure.
As there is no discrimination in the community based on sexual orientation, everyone in the community is open about their sexual orientation
Similarly everyone in the community is open about their drug using habits, sex work, and other causes of vulnerability to HIV if any

Hope these points are relevant and helpful,

Dear Laurence and Geoff, here is my vision of a dream re: knowledge asset on Acknowledgement & Recognition of HIV/AIDS :

"HIV/AIDS is a disease we know of and have already discussed between us in the community and in the family.

We consider HIV/AIDS to be one major, fatal risk in our existence as crossing the road and facing the risk to be killed by a car, drug or alcool addiction, smoking, speeding with a car, opposing remitting a wallet to a burglar and facing the risk that he would shoot,...

HIV/AIDS differs from most of the other fatal risks we are facing as individuals (see above) as it's propagation is both predictable and evitable.

It is predictable : the ways of transmission of HIV/AIDS are well-knowned and technical solutions are easy to implement.

It is evitable : one may chose alternatives to behaviours propagating the disease without renouncing to the activity or even reducing the pleasure of the considered activity.

We share the belief, and act accordingly, that based on this predictability and evitability, the responsibility lies with all potential victims, from teenagers to elderly, but also community leaders, mayors and other public bodies representatives, not for profit associations, to assess the prevention mechanisms put into place and accompany the victims.

One important factor in addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemy is to ask victims to also participate in the community, be part of it as just being a member of the community.

Communities must aknowledge that each HIV-AIDS victim sends a signal that we are not yet at level 5 of the SALT process.

Victims of HIV/AIDS also ask this question : "who else than us can better come closer to this objective of preventing the propagation of the disease ?"

At the end of it all, while we are sharing strengths or think we are in front of the medias, in UN, local governments and other forums, we have to accept seeing our mistakes and weaknesses.

Hence, persons affected by HIV-AIDS should not trigger this rejection mechanism as part of our denial to see and accept those mistakes and weaknesses.

Hiv-AIDS victims are like people overrun by a car in an insufficiently lid street, victims of burglaries, drug addicts or alcoolics, they are all part of a community, society, world that makes mistakes everyday and presents many weaknesses.

Aknowledging and recognising this is our major strength against this disease... and all the major issues this world is now facing, could be better handled if we are not afraid of watching our weaknesses.

Then we may start all together to work on our strengths."

Thanks and best regards,
Je rêve une communauté où les PVVIH ont sorti de la clandestinité, les gens discutent du vih et surtout dans le milieu des Jeunes car c'est une couche sociale très exposée.
Que la population connaisses leur etat serologique et partage l'expérience avec les autres personnes sero ignorant.
Last week we spent 3 days with community leaders(Village head men) coming from 4 communities in the neighborhood of Kithituni. We spent some time generating the dream for our communities where each of us came from.
We used 3 key questions as steps for generating the dream
1. How are we responding as a community? Draw key strengths for response.
2. What concerns are we facing in this journey as people responding to AIDs?
3. Whats our dream for that situation in the face of AIDs?

The outcomes were: A lot of passion and energy during the sharing and perhaps good sense of conviction; Depictions in Diagrams plus reconnecting post the workshops for learning and sharing; Invitations by local leaders for accompaniment and support.
Why had we come togethers:- To reflect on how we can stimulate community access to Counselling and testing in Kithituni.
Our dream.
To see a community that pauses to reflect on their contribution to stemming the epidemic, appreciate those own efforts. Disccusions on AIDs become so open that every one is talking about the virus, leaders in our villages are aware and supportive to the movement, calling regular community conversation meeting to follow up on agreed actions e.g we want to know our status, when is the testing in our community, . Leaders aware of who in his or her community needs support and mobilises community strengths to support e.g those traveling long distances to access ART and will need money to cover their transport following the strain in families but ideally now owned by the whole community.

The underlying concerns now is the sand harvesting that brings Sex workers alongside the truck drivers into the village and subjects the young sand harvesting boys to vulnerability.

Regards Goeff and Laurence.
Dear Laurence and all,

The people and organizations which are dedicated to containment and halting of the developmental challenge of the HIV epidemic( for the entire population with a definite focus on the infected and affected people) must act in accordance with the shared vision in a time bound manner. It has to be done in a mainstreamed and multi-pronged approach of preventive, care, support and treatment activities , carried out in a sensitive and caring environment.

We all must evince complete commitment for implementing good practices by their suitable adaptation, adoption and appropriate scale-up.

We must work on a vision which sees us as as a role model for containment of HIV in a stigma free society with a proactive participation and in committed, sincere and equal partnerships of the myriad stakeholders in general and the affected / infected communities in particular.

Community led and community owned positive prevention measures must take care of all future needs for care, support and treatment also.

Best wishes,

Dr.Rajesh Gopal, Gujarat,India.
Dear friends,

Great contributions! Thank you so much.

To take it a step further, could we go a bit deeper in terms of vision of a community that 'Acknowledges and recognizes' HIV as its reality, without focusing too much on the other practices of inclusion, access to treatment, addressing vulnerabilities, etc. Over time, we hope to develop knowledge assets for all of those practices.

So this time, let us focus on acknowledgment and recognition. If your community was AIDS Competent, what would your community do to acknowledge and recognize the reality of HIV?

I'm looking forward to read your contributions!


PS: Next week, we will share our experiences with regards to this practice. So if you want to share your stories already, do it on your blog :-)
Am glad to report a positive feedback from commercial sex workers and truck drivers who so far are recognizing HIV$AIDS as a reality and are now using condoms for their own protection.
Kenya truck drivers union.

Dear friends,
For me, this picture from Shaun in Kesi community, Papua New Guinea during a self-assessment exercise shows 'acknowledgement and recognition'.

For me the vision of 'acknowledgement' says many things, but mainly: 'As individuals within a community, we are being honest to ourselves and our community and face the good and less good things of reality'. We are not afraid to look into the less gloomy side of ourselves and our community and we have the courage to recognize and acknowledge certain points we have to improve on.

This deep level of honesty within a community will ignite some sort of community energy. Once we all know what we have acknowledged and recognized, we won't leave the situation like this! Of course, some things are beyond our control (we could recognize that a meteorite can hit our village), but with HIV we can influence a lot.

For me, acknowledgement and recognition goes deep in every individual. True recognition of the issue is not a quick win and facilitating this practice requires some time investment.

Dear Gaston,

I completely follow you in your assessment of aknowledgement and your dream of it.

1. Not afraid of the truth

When you write 'As individuals within a community, we are being honest to ourselves and our community and face the good and less good things of reality'. you simply summarise it all : we are not afraid of the truth that we are now watching.

During a SALT visit in my firm by Jean Louis and Aude, I was asked to listen to what my team would say about my firm. Listening to people presenting a true picture of my firm, as it is now, was indeed the first step in aknowledgment.

I have often heard specialists in HR, say psychologists ask this question "Can you hear this" or this one "Is this something you can hear?"

Denial and being afraid to look at the reality, and not entertain ourselves with fantasies disconnected from the reality, is indeed the first step in aknowledgment.

2. True recognition of the issue is not a quick win

When you write this, you remember us all that aknowledment is difficult, requires tools and people to facilitate.

Without Jean Louis and Aude, and the tools developped by the constellation, I could not have aknowledged.

3. facilitating this practice requires some time investment

In situations where our very life is immediately at risk, there is no issue that we would allocate our full time to adressing the issue and avoid death.

In most situations we are facing, WE are not in danger and therefore need to allocate OUR time to solving the problems of OTHERS.

I guess this is the first step in building a community and a society this is basically was a successfull education achieves : moving from our selfish needs as kids to being adults vested in their communities and own families.

Hence, I believe you could even add to the sentence facilitating this practice requires some time investment : "and attention to others".

Before spending time, mayors or other public representatives first need to consider HIV victims to be worth their time.

Aknowlegment requires attention to others as in most cases, I am not personnally and directly at risk vulnerable, a potential victim,...

I like the pdf file Methodology for SALT Team Visits on the website of the constellation site (attached) when describing the LINK function of the SALT visits :

"The LINK function will be expressed when the team begins to ask
themselves the question, ‘who is not in this discussion?’ For example, if
discussion happens mainly with elders in a first visit, the team will find a
way to meet youth. If discussion happens with the ‘upright’ citizens of a
place, the team can seek a way to talk to ‘troublemakers’. If men are the
first to discuss, then the team will want to discuss with women. This does
not happen by criticising those who are already active, but by always
including others. And as discussion opens with different people in a
community, the team will help to create opportunities to LINK the different
conversations together."

How could we achieve prevention of AIDS if the elderly think that the problems of the youth is not their concerned and that the young just think the opposite ?

Do we make progress by separating people in categories so that eventually we will have teams of the 60 years old excluding the 59 and younger and the 61 and older, then work on teams with people born in January, first week of the month,...?

I do think people also need to gather based on shared,common major criterias (women need to meet to address specific issues as do men for instance) but at the end of it all, aknowledgment of our capacity to address an issue requires attention to all community members and the will to also assist them.

Moreover, the most intersting conversations I have had happened with the people that are in many ways the most different to me... and some time much younger or older than me.

I am 41 years old and let me give you two examples of edifying teachings I have received in my life :

1. my son, aged 4

Two years ago I spent a week with my 4 years old son on holiday. We shared the same room, leaving the mum and my daugther home.

This is funny how it is a commonly shared belief that couples need "time for themselves" and therefore spend time the two of them without the kids : dinners, going to movie theaters, holidays,...

Funny that no one thinks the same for the relation father or mother/kids.

So I did consider normal that my son and I have time together, without the sister and the mother

One night in the room, just before falling asleep, my son asked me this question "dad, why do you sometimes scream at mum ?"

The power of this question triggered immediate changes in our family greatly reducing ou difficulties to communicate, as I guess most couples face.

Change in the behaviour of a man in his 40 happened because of an appropriate situation were a 4 years old could deliver an interesting... aknowledgement of where we are in terms of intra family members communication

2. Jean Louis and "If you would have asked me, I would have answered"

During our visit in Thailand, I projected once on Jean Louis my own visions, statements, views of what HIS situation, his actions were.

Jean Louis simply answered "If you would have asked me, I would have answered"

Jean Louis must be more than 10 years older than me, is a physician and leader of a major NPO while I am a lawyer bringing enough fees to make about 10 people live on this.

Jean Louis brought me 6 000 kms from my home, and in this particular contest, made a change in the way I communicate with people.

Without my first interest in Jean Louis's life, his project, the life of others no changes would have happened.

I hope this help and that I have not travested your ideas Gaston.


Thanks Chris for this wonderful sharing and reflection. You only strengthened my ideas and provided me more insight into my own words.

Dear all,
When I try to think of an image of how would it be like to live in a community where acknowledgement & recognition of HIV have reached a level 5, the image that I get is one of a community where conversations about HIV come out naturally without tabues or prejudices. And those conversations take place because all members of the community feel that HIV affects their lives in many different areas and levels, and all of them have the responsibility to prepare themselves individually and as a group to find a response. I would consider we have reached a level 5 when there is no need to look for strategies to have members of the community addressing the issues of prevention, care and treatment as one more of the normal things we need to discuss as part of our day-to-day life.

One of the tools I have been using to work towards "normalization" of HIV is disclosure. I have come out with my HIV+ diagnose to show those who considered HIV as pertaining only to excluded populations that HIV is something that can come into anyone's life. But that is a kind of information I would not have shared was it not for that objective and I did so because I could see there was a need to transmit a message of "normal" life while living with HIV. I think that the use of that tool is required only as long as there is not a high level of acknowledgment & recognition.

So, I think it is important that anyone should feel free to disclose without any fear of discrimination, shame or blame and a real sign of acceptance of the role of HIV in our communities would be that there was no need for HIV + people to disclose (unless they desire to share their status for personal reasons) because all members of the community shared the same knowledge and responsibility, independently of their serostatus.

Best regards
Hi laurence, was busy for a while, good to have the opportunity to get back here, and im sorry but my dream for acknowledgenment and recognition is NOT for Transgenders. but for people to understand that there are no gay, bisexua,transgenders, or even straight but there ARE PEOPLE, sure i know and understand that its the behavior that puts us at risk, but it is so unfair to even acknowledge and recognize that sexual minorities are most at risk because of their behavior because there are people who would not fall into that category( or would not admit) yet is practicing behaviors that put them at risk.This LABELING of MARPS or whatever anyone would want to call the sector. its a new level of stigma and discrimination, which is why (or atleast in the philippines) I would like to belive we are missing our targets, its one thing that in the philippines sexuality is whisphered and is something to really laugh at and joked about but never something you can discuss non chalantly over coffee.. " Like i had mind-blowing anal sex last night i didnt even use a condom whoah!!!" so in a nutshell my dream for Acknowledgement and Recognition is for PEOPLE ( or in the case of self assessment: the person) feels that EVERYONE is at risk and its not a THEM,THEIR or THEY disease. and EVERYONE gets tested because he/she knows she/he has put herslef/himself at risk, and not get encouraged to get testing because he/she belongs to a MARP.
Well ofcourse that goes with beauty,thruth,justice and world peace, these too require that we(personally) think that we espouse these advocacies too.
I thank you bow


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