Connecting local responses around the world
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.