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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We first need to recognize that drugs exists, has existed and will exist, whatever happen, the only thing we can do is reducing the harm associated to it, working along with drug users to limit the effect of their consuption on their health and the risks to get infected by HIV. Drug usage should be adressed as a public health issue rather than a legal one.

We also need to recognize that people have sex, it might be stupid to say so, but some people don’t want to hear that. And every single one of us exist because their parents had sex together. This is true for everyone, even Benoit XVI! Sex is a good thing and (within conscent limit) there’s no “good” or “bad” practice, everyone is free to do anything they want (always with total conscent), we can talk about it, share information about it, laugh about it,.... And yeah, like many other pleasure in this life, sex come with some risk, HIV is one of them. Only education, open discussion, information... can help people make the best choices for themselves and their partners. Because the risk zero unfortunately doesn’t exist. The only certitude you can have is if you are positive, nobody can be certain to be negative, it’s impossible. Therefore universal precautions (assuming that people might be positive) should be implemented and respected in every situations, in doing so, nobody should have any fear, HIV is very easy to prevent.

Reminding people that every single one of us is a part of the problem... and therefore, a part of the solution. We are all at risk, some acts put us more at risk of being infected, but you are at risk for what you do, not for what you are. So by educating yourself, talking, questionning (changing) your vocabulary, in one word, by learning about the virus, you reduce the fear, and you become stronger.

So I guess my point is that to fight HIV, we need to increase knowledge to reduce fear and we need to fight stigma and oppression to help people make the best choices for themselves.
Would HIV/AIDS still be a problem in an oppression free world?

It's late, I'm not sure it's clear... I need to sleep.

Cheers,

Renaud
Dear friends,

Thank you so much for all your contributions to our common dream. I propose the following as an attempt to capture our common dream:

HIV affects us all. We are honest to ourselves and our community and face the good and less good issues together. We share our hopes and concerns. We naturally and openly discuss HIV as a normal disease, as well as our vulnerabilities, without taboo or prejudice. Our response to AIDS is part of our daily life. We know our own status and act from strength. There is no need for people to disclose their status because everyone shares the same knowledge and responsibility.

Does this capture what we shared?

I invite you to start sharing your experience with acknowledgment and recognition. How did you or your community acknowledge that HIV concerned you (and not only your neighbor, or this 'target group', or that far away country...) ?

I'm looking forward to hearing your comments on the dream and your experience with this practice :-)

Laurence
J'etais en charge de la communication sur le sida au Programme national de lutte contre le sida dans mon pays en
1990.

Ma jeune soeur qui servait d'intermediaire pour tous les echanges avec la famille pendant mon sejour de
plus de deux ans a l'etranger est tombee malade. Nous etions tres proche l'un de l'autre. Lorsqu'elle m'a dit qu'elle
souffrait de tuberculose, je me suis dit que c'etait guerissable. Elle a commence le traitement mais voulait entourer
ses visites a l'hopital de beaucoup de discretion.

Et elle est devenue agressive vis a vis de moi lorsque je lui ai parle de faire tous les examens y compris le depistage du vih parce qu'un ami medecin m'avait dit que la plupart des tuberculeux faisaient le sida. Elle etait encore plus agressive lorsque je ramenais a la maison des depliants, affichette et brochure sur le VIH au point d'exiger d'aller suivre son traitement dans un hopital de province sous le pretexte d'etre mieux suivie sur le plan medical.

Sa sante a continue a se degrader rapidement et elle est decedee dans cet hopital trois mois apres dans les bras de ma mere. Pendant le deuil, ma mere m'a fait observer qu'il etait certainement facile de donner des conseils sur le sida aux autres a longueur des journees. Mais lorsque vous avez le sida a la maison a t elle poursuivi, les conseils ne suffisent plus, vous devez agir. C'etait effectivement douloureux de realiser que le VIH/sida dont je parlais a longueur des journees etait entree dans notre maison et emporte une de mes soeurs qui m'etait si proche.

La lutte contre le VIH n'etait plus simplement un gagne pain, c'etait un combat contre Goliath et dont je venais de perdre la premiere manche. Avec ma mere, avec ma famille et mes enfants, nous nous sommes dit que lorsque le sida se trouve chez les autres, on peut se contenter des conseils, quand il vous visite chez vous a la maison, il faut plus que des simples conseils, il faut des actions. Chacun desormais sait qu'il doit passer a l'action.

Le message que je veux transmettre aux autres surtout les plus jeunes est de ne pas attendre d'avoir le sida a la maison pour agir. Accpter que le VIH est rellement parmi nous pret a frapper. Ils devraient choisir d'agir avant.
Saka Saka

Thank you for sharing this personal and painful story. It made a big impact on me. Words are not enough, we must take action.

Merci de partager cette histoire personnelle et douloureuse. Il a fait un grand impact sur moi. Les conseils ne suffisent pas, nous devons passer l'action.

Geoff
Thanks Geoff for facilitating the discussion on Acknowledgement and Recongnition of HIV on this platform. Of course, the terms Acknowledgement and Recognition of HIV in a community is when individuals, families and communities freely and confidently discuss and know about the issues relating to HIV and AIDS. As you rightly mentioned in your message, it is a context in which stigma and discrimination to HIV and AIDS will be a thing of the past.

To conclude, let me share my personal story within my family: Long ago, I wanted my entire household including myself, wife, 5 children, mother-law and nephew to be sensitized and tested in order to know their HIV status. This dream was not fulfilled until recently when my wife enrolled to study HIV and AIDS Counselling and RH Course. In the month of May 2009, she was sent on a month internship at a VCCT Centre in the Central Referral and Teaching Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone. To my amazement, her practical exercise also affected our household as well. After knowing her own HIV status, she tested everyone in the household except me. I was the last person she was constantly reminding to be tested. Before I finally consented to be tested, the children always ask me and her whether she has tested me. Everyone including the children in the home talks about HIV and they were curious to know each others HIV status include me - their father. It was joy for the kids as they watched me, their daddy, been tested by my wife. The result proved to be -ve.

To me, this is a household where the competence on Acknowledgement and Recognition of HIV within the family context is high. Sorry for being so long, and I am hoping that my colleagues and friends will share their experience too on the practice of Acknowledgement and Recognition.

Thanks for your understanding,
Jo
Thank you so much Joseph to share your experience. I'm really impressed by the competence of your family. We are not that far in my own family...

Antoine and Joseph, what is common in your experience? You both show that we can start in our own families. Or is there something else we can learn from your 2 stories?

Friends, let us share more about this practice... We have so much to learn from each other!

Laurence
Dear friends,

As a teenager, I was not really concerned about HIV. I didn't think about it. But one day, something changed...

I was at the coast for a weekend with two friends. At some point, we were sharing about changing boyfriends. One of my friends said: "You know last time I had a new boyfriend, I did the HIV test to make sure everything was ok. He did the same." I realized that they had been practicing this systematically and I thought it was a good idea. You never know, I thought.

The main thing I learned from this is that when I discussed about HIV and safe practices with friends, I really started to acknowledge that HIV concerned me and that there were simple ways to prevent from being infected. I think it is important to note that these were not just some 'peer educators' but my friends. That is why I listened to them.

When I went for testing in Brussels, I had to wait for one week for the results. Although I didn't take many risks, I did take some risks with one person... During that week where I had to wait, I really thought about that minor risk so many times... "And what if... I was infected? The risk is small but still there is a risk... What will I do? My life is finished if that happens... " these were my thoughts, over and over again. After a week of mind torture, I decided that if this test was negative, I would NEVER take any risk anymore. I didn't want to go through the worrying again.

The second thing I learned from my own experience is that when you go for testing, it will stimulate you to acknowledge that HIV affects your life and you will change your behavior.

This is my story :-) I want to hear your experience as well!

Kiss

Laurence
Dear All,

When we gave Awards and Recognition to Community Leaders, Peer Educators and others who have worked singularly well, and earned their Community's recognition, it works in more ways than one:
1) "As one lamp lights another nor grows less, So does nobleness en-kindle nobleness." Similarly, Awards and Recognition motivate the receiver to work for greater heights of achievement.
2) Like Shakespeare said of the quality of mercy, we can say the same for Award and Recognition, namely, "It is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes."
3) When we recognize some good qualities of a person and publicly broadcast it, we learn ways of making others happy. Consequently, my experience has been that the happier people are, they are more motivated, more creative, more wanting to bond and trust. Therefore, the most important effect of recognition is that it builds trust, which is the steel in the concrete relationships within a Community.

Also, we must remember, the tougher job is for the one who gives, for he has to make a good judgment, which can be difficult if there are many achievers.

Hope these experiences help,

Rafique
Ma vision pour la première pratique

En tant que femmes issues du milieu maghrébine/musulman vivant en Europe, nous vivions un conflit permanent une sorte de gotbetween entre deux cultures…
S’épanouir socialement et physiquement n’est pas facile en tant que femme car la pression exercée par le carcan familial et le poids communautaire a développé un malaise identitaire. Nous ne sommes pas actrices de nos propres vies, car l’honneur de la famille pesait sur nos épaules…
Le non dit sur la sexualité, l’identification culturelle, la pression en lien avec la virginité, la zinna, le contrôle social sur les filles a fragiliser notre communauté et nous a rendu vulnérable face à la dimension de la sexualité et une perte de confiance en nos forces face aux enjeux de la vie.
Le rêve pour moi permet de favoriser cette estime de soi qui nous manque cruellement car pour être armé face aux enjeux de la vie, il faut pouvoir aussi maîtriser toute la dimension de la sexualité. Nous réapproprier nos corps à travers le rêve, nous redonner confiance ainsi pouvoir gérer nos vies en tant que femme issue d’une culture vivant dans une autre…
Parler aussi du Sida à travers le rêve permet de toucher l’ensemble de ces enjeux influençant nos vies.
Car le sujet du SIDA est difficilement abordé, la tendance générale était de dire que le sida c’est la maladie de l’autre, qu’un bon musulman ne peut pas être infecté car ses mœurs étaient sous contrôle (le préservatif rituel). Dans la culture maghrébine la cause de la maladie est souvent extérieure à l’individu, elle conduit à une déresponsabilisation face à la maladie. Parce qu’elle renvoie au sexe, le sida reste tabou dans la communauté maghrébine/musulmane.
Au vue de ce vécu, pour moi, la reconnaissance doit passer aussi par la connaissance du sujet du SIDA, car les représentations culturelles polluent les comportements… tels que le déni, le silence, la déresponsabilisation, constituant en quelque sorte le système de réaction social de cette communauté face au SIDA.
Mais bien sûr que la connaissance ne suffit pas à changer les comportements, les déterminants les plus importants des changements concernent aussi l’attitude, l’aptitude à développer et maintenir un comportement de protection et l’environnement communautaire. Ce qui résume de toutes ces dimensions est la compétence
Aussi, rétablir le sujet autour du sujet du sida ne prendra sa véritable signification que pour les personnes plutôt optimistes quand à leur avenir, ayant une bonne estime d’elles-mêmes pour envisager lucidement et sereinement d’adopter les comportements adéquats. Le rêve m’a permit d’arriver à cette étape, en faisant ressortir les forces des femmes de ma communauté à l’occasion de visite salt.
Une des visites salt qui a été un succès auprès des femmes de ma communauté fut précédée d’une séance d’informations sur le VIH, dont le rêve de ce groupe fût de briser le silence, de parler du sujet à leur mari et à leurs enfants… la première étape vers la RECONNAISSANCE.


Aîcha
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
Dear Laurence, Geofff and all,

I think this practice is one of the most difficult to assess and at the same time is very much connected with all the rest of practices. Some times it is hard to diferenciate the fact of having information from acknowledging and recognizing and for me that makes a lot of a difference in terms of dealing with HIV.

From the very beginning of the epidemic I had information about the virus. And then, I was living with a person who was using drugs so I was also aware of the fact that HIV could enter my life. But that information (even thinking that it could affect me) was not enough to move me to action. It was not enough to make me react and protect myself. That capacity did not come but much later in my life, when I could really understand the inextricability of life and death as just one, when I fully realized that being alive is not only a matter of breathing but enjoying and suffering; that health is not just about being free of 'ilness' but about doing the most of what you have.

I spent a few years trying to help my partner to come out of drug use while trying to understand what is there that can make a gifted person as he was destroy himself and run towards death. And it was those long years of loving him while having to see how he killed himself what made me become a fan of life not as something apart from death but directly related to it. I could apreciate the valuable importance of enjoying every moment of our lives as something unique and living the present without complaints for what had just gone, but also without great expectations about the future.

Unluckily, I was already infected with HIV by then so this understanding was not useful for me in terms of prevention but it gave me the opportunity to asume my HIV positive status as one more of the many other challenges we have to overcome in our lives.This knowledge is fundamental, in the way I live with HIV.

I think that my story can fill into principle number 4, although I would also include something about the importance of appreciating life as a principle to deal with HIV.

Thank you
MariJo
Dear Marijo,

Your experience touches me deeply. You say: "I could appreciate the valuable importance of enjoying every moment...life not as something apart from death but directly related to it". It is not easy to do. I have always been very aware of the presence of death and time passing by. So often I tell myself: "Enjoy enjoy as much as you can because time goes by fast..." Being aware of death sometimes waters seeds of fear. You managed to transform the fear of death into the enjoyment of life at every step. This is wonderful, a deep deep insight of life.
The Buddha talks about impermanence. We have to accept that everything is impermanent...to enjoy life more.

One other thought about acknowledgment of HIV. I remember a Thai person (who was this again? Dr Aree?) saying: "If there was such a progress against HIV in Phayao, it is maybe because men in Phayao love themselves more then in other places." I think this is very interesting... In places where people take care of themselves, love themselves and love life, does HIV spread less?

Thank you so much for sharing!

Kisses from Kigali

Laurence

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