AIDS Action Committees are small groups of people from within the community, who are committed to
countering the stigma faced by people living with HIV within communities and within their own families. They are rooted within their communities, significantly influence community attitudes and behavior, and through their own examples can inspire inclusion within families and communities. These are two examples of how the AIDS Action Committess were able to successfully resolve the issue of stigma within the families.

In a village in North Karnataka, a young widow with two children was thrown out of the house after her husband’s death, and her rightful share in the property denied. She was very distressed and wanted to commit suicide. She shared it with the AIDS Action Committee of the taluk, a volunteer advocacy group which had been formed after the community process in other villages. After taking her consent, 5members of the AIDS Action committee had a meeting with her in-laws and had an extensive discussion. Issues of family responsibility and justice were discussed. There was community pressure along with reassurance about how HIV does not spread. This was six months ago. The family has since fully accepted her back, given her husband’s pension and even given her share of the property.

Similarly, in another village, a young farmer was thrown out of his house, and denied his share in the property by his brothers. A religious leader who heard about his plight was deeply moved by it. As the head of the AIDS Action Committee in his Taluka, he took action by going to visit his brothers, and speaking to them about the need to support their brother. The family members was influenced by the intervention of the religious leader, they welcomed their brother back into the family.

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Comment by Bheri M R on June 30, 2010 at 9:50am
thanks hanumesh for sharing these stories, which enhances our inspiration and remind us how the village communities have been responding to the issues around HIV and AIDS. please do share more stories

best wishes

Comment by maya on June 11, 2010 at 5:01pm
This is a wonderful illustration of helping address people's emotions and providing adequate support. What can we do to spread this positivity to other scenarios?
Best wishes,
Comment by Laurence Gilliot on June 9, 2010 at 3:15pm
Hi Hanumesh,

Your stories would fit very nicely into our growing knowledge asset on Inclusion. You can visit it here:

Our hope is that this asset will inspire communities to include people who are different.
Perhaps your stories could illustrate this principle: If we make one simple act of acceptance then we can inspire others to take their own actions. Or do you have other ideas?


Comment by Gaston on June 9, 2010 at 8:42am
Two interesting experiences. Thank you for sharing. What do you think is a common principle for change in both settings? The AIDS Action Committee is a useful delivery mechanism, but what is the deeper principle that we can apply in other contexts as well?

Thank you,
Comment by Bobby Zachariah on June 8, 2010 at 1:25pm
Dear Hanumesh,

Excellent stories.

The inherent capacity of communities to care is not widely acknowledged in the 'stigma' discussions. Successful organisations know how to stimulate this capacity.

How do we make sure that these strategies are heard and adopted widely?


Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on June 7, 2010 at 7:22pm
Dear Hanumesh,

Thanks for these fantastic stories of change. I appreciate the way Samraksha has engaged AIDS Action Committees in response to HIV. Do some team members from these committees accompany you in SALT visits?

Warm regards,



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