AIDS Action Committee : Demonstrating community involvement in HIV response

We have in the past shared about the role of AIDS Action Committees, an informal group of people, mostly opinion leaders of the community (political or religious leaders, writers, teachers, social activists etc), who encourage, and initiate community actions. Specially, they act as an effective stigma redressal body, from within the community, who by setting up their own examples of inclusion, inspire others to accept and include.

This group also gives a visible face to the involvement of the community in the HIV response, and the different programmes and activities designed by the government for this purpose. The involvement of this committee in the Red Ribbon Express event, in the district of Raichur is a good example. Red Ribbon Express is a one of its kind initiative for mass mobilization, initiated by the Government of India, to reach remote villages, and towns with basic awareness about HIV.

Recenty when the RRE was in Raichur, this committee was actively involved in the event. They were able to mobilize resources of Rs.45000 to support the event. They also developed interesting communication material on HIVand care, and use this event as a space to educate the general community on the issue. They did this of their volition, because they felt it was important.

Their other efforts include linking people to care and support service, and supporting the care centre, as well as positive networks in the area. In their role as leaders, they are able to come in touch with people, who may need HIV related services, and they link them to it. Each of the members, in their own ways, take into consideration issues of HIV, in whichever area they work, a good instance of mainstreaming at the grassroots level.

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Comment by Gaston on August 11, 2010 at 5:51pm
Thanks for the clarifications. Very interesting initiative.
Comment by Divya Sarma on August 10, 2010 at 3:09pm
Dear Gaston,
AIDS Action Committees are volunteer bodies, generally consisting of opinion leaders in the community. When Samraksha was implementing an intensive community engagement process in these districts, these committees were formed at the Taluka levels. Mainly, they have addressed stigma in multiple ways within the community. They also undertake other activities, awareness, resource mobilization, and fundraising, based on whatever they are interested in.
Samraksha's support to these groups in the initial years was mainly giving an opportunity for them to come together, as people who are interested in making a difference in the community. Following that, committees mostly function independently and seek guidance and support from Samraksha, when they require it.
Comment by Gaston on August 5, 2010 at 7:31am
Thank you Divya.The Action Committees are a great initiative. I am particularly interested in how they are organised? Do they fulfil similar functions in the different places? Are they mostly coordinating activities?

Secondly, can you share a bit more about Samraksha's support to these committees? You support them over an extended period of time?

Thank you,
Comment by Divya Sarma on July 29, 2010 at 4:15pm
Rituu, to answer your question, initially Samraksha facilitated the formation of these committees, by just bringing the interested people together, where they could interact and share ideas. From then on, it has been mostly their own motivation. We are actually currently doing a review on their impact on the community, and what they plan to do. I will share the findings once it is completed.
Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on July 28, 2010 at 6:34pm
Dear Divya,

Thanks for yet another great blog. Its commendable the way AIDS Action committees have used the platform of Red Ribbon express to initiate discussions on HIV.

I attended the meeting of AIDS Action Committee in Gangavathi which was headed by the local legislator. I have a question. How did these committees come into being? What keeps the momentum going? Is there one committee in each district?




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