Parliament Members' Participation in national HIV AIDS response


My name is Ari, from Indonesia. As you may aware of, people in my country have just voted in the Election Day to elect legislative/parliament members, at national and sub-national levels. We will have another election to vote for the next President of this country in July 09.
There is a concern, and also hope, from the HIV AIDS Community in Indonesia related to this situation. From our experiences, new government and parliament means that new approaches need to be undertaken to ensure that the current AIDS response will be sustainable, and hopefully be strengthened to ensure that prevention and care & support services are in place for those in need.
I’m sure that among the members of the AIDS Competence, there are people who have experienced in conducting activities in related to HIV AIDS advocacy to the parliament members. My questions are:
- Are there any experiences that you can share on how to engage the parliament members in the AIDS response?
- What roles can the parliament members take in the national HIV AIDS response?
- How to ensure that support from parliament is sustainable and strengthened through the changes of its members every five years?

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge and experiences.


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Comment by Laurence Gilliot on April 16, 2009 at 5:26pm
Dear Ari,

One thing I strongly believe is that you cannot change policy makers, they can only change by themselves.

But by inviting policy makers to SALT visits, we can stimulate change. Let them experience the strengths of community responses with their own eyes and they will be transformed through the experience. If they get in touch with real people who are striving towards AIDS Competence, they will want to help and support the local initiatives.

All the best,

Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on April 15, 2009 at 10:02pm
Dear Ari,

Greetings from Delhi!

Political leadership is required for effective HIV programmes but it is often difficult to attain.

To enhance the support and participation of the political leadership, UNAIDS India has facilitated the establishment of Legislative Forum on AIDS (LFA) in three provinces/states of Manipur, Andhra and Nagaland. LFA consist of representatives from all parties in the state legislature.

LFA is an all-party consortium with Speaker of the Legislative Assembly/State Health Minister as the Convener. It is a ready, neutral platform for engaging elected representatives in a structured manner. Being a multi-party forum it preserves commitment and focus irrespective of any change in power. It provides an opportunity to discuss policy issues in legislative bodies with access of members to large masses from their constituencies and a scope to challenge popular perceptions. LFA members (some of who are also Ministers), have executive powers to integrate HIV within their departments

UNAIDS supports the LFA Secretariat which consists of two full time staff. The LFA secretariat has provided evidence for informed advocacy to the elected leaders and facilitated their engagement in addressing issues of stigma and discrimination at state, district and local levels.

Recently, UNAIDS took the lead in supporting the Andhra Pradesh Legislators Forum on AIDS to bring together all major political parties to pledge to incorporate universal access into their political manifestos. 15 political parties signed the pledge at the state assembly. This action sends a strong signal on what legislators can do to achieve universal access. Read the full story:

Another feather in its cap has been the approval of Andhra Pradesh Cabinet for monthly pension of Indian Rs. 200 for each person living with HIV, from below-poverty line (BPL) families, and undergoing Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) treatment. The announcement is a result of a year-long initiative by UNAIDS and the Andhra Pradesh LFA. After a public hearing in April 2008, the LFA presented memorandum to the Chief Minister demanding pensions for those on ART treatment.

Besides above, in a major step towards decentralization, Manipur LFA and Nagaland LFA have raised funds for sustaining HIV-related activities.

Hope you find this useful.

Comment by M.L. Prabakar on April 14, 2009 at 11:14am
Dear Ari,

I understand your concerns and those are very valid to me. I don't have hands on experience in this area but I can share what people have attempted to do in my country in a state called Andhrpradesh.
Political will and support plays a main role in my country. A network of women support groups in Andhra Pradesh in the southern part of India, lobbied with some of the political parties before the elections to push thier agenda into the political parties electoral manisfesto. Their agenda was to create a favourable policy to support savings of women groups and this was one of the valuable aspects that helped them to have a more favourable cooperative policy which other states do not have.

We at national level have put forth a HIV / AIDs Bill to the Pariliment, that encompasses a serious of aspects related to HIV and communities infected and affected by HIV. Though this bill is still pending at the Parliment the good thing about this is that, it has made several politicians to speak, discuss and argue about various aspects of it which has been the key to break the silence on HIV and Sexuality. The National level positive networks have been very active on this. Several politicians have come forward and made some comments publicly to support this cause in handling the issue of HIV / AIDS. If you need more information I can introduce you to this organisation and you can discuss with them.

All the very best,




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