Breaking down the HIV/AIDS taboos

18 april, 2011

In 2010 five independent evaluators visited eight partner organisations in India and Peru. Organising self-help groups for people suffering from HIV/AIDS has turned out to be easier in India than in Peru. For example, partner organisation SIAAP in India set up thirty collectives for HIV infected prostitutes and homosexuals in the last ten years. In Peru, however, people do not openly admit to the fact that they have HIV/AIDS from fear of stigmatisation and discrimination. This makes it much more difficult to use a group approach.

Limited national influence
The evaluation states that Hivos partners contribute to wider access to prevention, medication and health care for vulnerable target groups and their families.  All the partners that were evaluated have improved sexual human rights. However, the influence that partners have on a national level and on health care in general remains limited. According to the evaluators, it is down to a small number of people within the partner organisations to form a solid lobby. Most organisations do not have a clearly defined strategy to change government policy.

Free access
Nevertheless, partners both in India and Peru, have influenced national policy development through the country coordinating mechanisms of the Global Fund. In India  INP+ and SIAAP have pushed the development of the HIV/AIDS bill. In Peru most partners have participated in the Colectivo Para la Vida to fight for free access to treatment. The activism of this coalition has been crucial in the government taking up its responsibility for the ART roll out programme since 2004.

Global Fund
Het Global Fund is an important source of income for HIV/AIDS projects. At the beginning of 2011, Hivos became the main recipient of a Global Fund programme in Guatemala. Hivos had previously acquired this status in Bolivia and will soon be given this status in Asia; projects in Timor Leste, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines have recently been approved.  "This allows our target groups to participate actively within the Global Fund and ensure that their  wishes and needs are at the forefront," explains Hivos director Manuela Monteiro.

Photo: Indian Network For People Living with HIV/AIDS – INP+

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