People living with HIV may understand and empathize with each other and may be best placed to counsel one another and to
represent their needs in decision - and policy-making
Today the GIPA principle is the backbone of many interventions worldwide. People living with, or affected by HIV are involved in a wide variety of activities at all levels of the fight against AIDS; from appearing on posters, bearing personal testimony, and supporting and counseling others with HIV, to participating in major decision- and policy-making activities. The engagement of people living with HIV is all the more urgent as countries scale up their national AIDS responses to achieve the goal of universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support services.
UNAIDS GIPA Policy Position
No single agency can provide for the full spectrum of needs of people living with HIV: partnerships between actors are therefore needed. To enable the active engagement of people living with HIV, UNAIDS urges all actors to ensure that people living with HIV have the space and the practical support for their greater and more meaningful involvement. Governments, international agencies and civil society must:
* set, implement and monitor minimum targets for the participation of people living with HIV, including women, young people and marginalized populations, in decision-making bodies. Selection processes should be inclusive, transparent and democratic; and
* involve people living with HIV in developing funding priorities and in the choice, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of HIV programes from their inception.
Click Here for UN Policy Brief on GIPA
Many people with various health issues and challenges travel and participate in international service every year and this number is growing. With fewer HIV travel restrictions global engagement is more possible. Take advantage of this new found freedom.
Even people in perfect health can feel sick while abroad. Stomachs can act up, and new environments can trigger unexpected reactions.However, traveling while living with HIV can be a unique challenge. Unfamiliar places with unknowns that can affect one's ability to stay compliant can cause anxiety, but with proper planning and a support infrastructure these risks can be minimized. Volunteer Positive works with each volunteer to create a plan which can support their experience. This plan includes travel advice, medical support while in country, and an environment that respects limitations.
Young and mature progressive people with HIV is a huge growing demographic, as are medically stable people with HIV, who a decade ago may have been too sick to travel, but happily are now back at work and thriving. They are great potential volunteers on short term programs. This being said because people are scared by HIV and there is a lot of poor, outdated information, I am not sure many people are aware of how much things have changed. We believe that everyone is HIV affected whether or not they are infected with the virus. In a sense, we are all HIV positive. Anyone with a willingness and ability to serve is welcomed.
If you are HIV+ and want to volunteer abroad there are many ways to plan ahead for a successful and healthy experience. Volunteer Positive staff work with you though the preparation process to plan for your experience. It is also your responsibility to work with your personal physician in assessing whether or not you are healthy enough to travel and to serve. If you are medically stable and have been on a predictable medical protocol or regimen without the need for major adjustments during the past six months this is a sign that you might be able to be confident to travel. No one factor can assess a person's health so each individual needs to be managed on a case by case basis.