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Re: GIPA Coordinator post in India

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Re: /message/8606

It was sad to read Rajendra Singh's mail. In my thought I felt that for working

for positive, it does not mean that whether he or she should be positive or


That specific he or she should have a good attitude towards the people who are

suffering from this. A good person who can be one among them, it does not mean

only a positive can be one among them.

If one is insisting for only positive to be the coordinator, i feel that, you

are having a stiga and discrimination within you, and nobody can help it. A non

positive entering into the group means, a step forward against stigma and


Why can't we take it positively?



e-mail: <jessica_george85@...>

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Dear friends,

Re: /message/8606

I very much agree with Jessy and congratulate her for this approach.

We had similar experiences in our work at Gwalior in central India, details on


This is what is expected from every one and is the need of the day as required.

Non positive people mixing with positive people is the only way as an example to

remove the myths, feelings of stigma and discrimination among non positive

people against positive people. It needs to go for more than that i.e. eating,

drinking and doing routine chores of life together will further help improve

such feelings.

We had similar experiences having taken Radha with us though it took almost two

years for her to be accepted as one of the family by our own people, however now

she lives with us in Snehalaya with other children and adults as a family

enjoying normal childhood but undergoing second line ART as medications.

Since we initiated Gwalior network of positive people and Snehansu left us, I

coordinate myself for this work myself. Since then I have noticed that their

morale and activities have improved, probably finding a non positive person

mixing with them as one of them and this opens the eyes of others too to avoid

stigma and discrimination or against myths for spread of HIV.

I know it is an uphill task and will take a long time for our society to accept,

but we shall reach there.

With best wishes,


Gwalior Childrens Hospital Charity

Snehalaya Trust & GHECT (India),

14,Magdalene Road, Walsall, West Midlands. WS1 3TA(U.K.)

Tel. +44(0)1922 629842 Fax. 01922 632942 Mobile. 07729929982

Email: Gwalior.Hospital@...

Website: www.gwalior.hospital.care4free.net


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Dear forum members,

Re: /message/8606

I am writing this in response to one of the emails posted earlier

showing concerns about the appointment of a non positive person for

the GIPA post.

I totally agree with the NACO for formulating an eligibility criterion for the

aforementioned post. We ought to have a well qualified, resourceful and an

experienced person for such a

responsible post.

In one of the previous emails, posted by Mr. Rajendra Singh, President, Assam

Network of Positive People (ANP+) it seems that the appointment of a non

positive person for this post has become a major cause of their disappointment.

I fully understand that GIPA came into picture in this country only because of

sustained efforts by INP+ and also that a positive person is in a better

position to relate to PLHA and to deal with their concerns but then too we

should have a selection criterion and a standard protocol for filling up such

positions. Also, the PLHA should fully understand that formulating criteria is

mandatory as HIV/AIDS is an epidemic surrounded by intricate issues like stigma


discrimination which have to be dealt very sensitively and

efficiently and for this we need experts who not only have good

communication skills and extensive field experience but also a sound

understanding of the epidemic in the context of a developing country

like India.

The PLHA should not take " being positive " as one of the selection criterion for

the post as this would go against GIPA employment policies as GIPA claims to be

an equal opportunity employer.

At this point, I am unable to understand why people like Mr. Rajendra Singh are

insisting to have a positive person when at the same time they are writing that

we do not have well qualified positive people in the country. Do they want NACO

or for that reason any other professional organization should start employing

people basing their selection on whether the applicant is positive or not.

Another point that has been emphasized time and again in these

emails is that by employing positive people we could reduce stigma

and discrimination associated with the disease but shouldn't the

PLHA understand that stigma and discrimination are issues that are

inherently linked with HIV/AIDS epidemic and to reduce them we not

only need a certain level of expertise but as I mentioned earlier an

in depth understanding of the epidemic. I am still wondering if this

knowledge and experience comes automatically by becoming positive.

The last concern that has been raised in the email is whether a non

positive person appointed for this post would be sensitive enough

towards the PLHA. If this is the case then PLHA should realize that

most of the stakeholders and key persons working in the field of

HIV/AIDS both at national and international levels are non positive

and are working for a noble cause without expecting any big returns.

It is only because of their sustained efforts that we have a number

of national and international NGOs running in the country and

working on the different facets surrounding the epidemic. It should

be clearly understood that most of these charitable organizations

and NGOs do not have any vested monetary interests but a strong

desire and dedication to work for a noble cause.

Therefore these people should understand that any person who respects the basic

human rights and for that reason humanity in Toto would definitely be concerned

for PLHA irrespective of his /her HIV status being positive or negative.

In conclusion, I would strongly advise that organizations that call

themselves as the voice of PLHA should sit back and introspect

before raising such concerns which when posted in such widely read

forums like AIDS INDIA reflect back their poor understanding of the

epidemic and the strategies designed to tackle it.

Thanking you in solidarity,

Dr. Ashutosh Mishra

MBBS, MPH (University of Sheffield, UK)

E-MAIL: mishraashutosh@...

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Re: GIPA Coordinator post in India

Dear Forum

Re: / message/8606

We think the discussion on GIPA co coordinator is getting serious. We

feel proud and appreciate Rajendra Singh's mail for raising this

issue on this FORUM.

We totally agree with all of you that knowledge, attitude and

experience are most important than a university degree. We have many

times expressed the same view in many forums. It is easy for some

people to say `stop fights' and to color some genuine issues as

simple issues. But, people who are facing the issue directly will

know the depth and seriousness of the issue. It is easy to advice

others to be calm and professional until the issue hit their face


What happens frequently in HIV field is vulnerable communities are

blamed for getting emotional and raising voices. That too when they

ask for preference in jobs and questions on allocated funds and other

welfares which they deserve.

Mostly these issues are colored in a way that member of the HIV

vulnerable community are making the divide among the community and

against the non HIV vulnerable community and stigmatizing

themselves. The fact is not that.

Of course we know the attitude is the important factor for a person

and many from the general community has such good, excellent and

superb attitude. And general community has done and doing good job

with regard to HIV response. We bow to such good work.

But why not they give way to members of HIV vulnerable community to

access such jobs?

Here the issue is not about whether the person in the job is positive

or not. It is about whether the preference to that job is given to a

positive person or not.

When exclusion of positive people in jobs is happening in the name of

qualifications, these are the genuine issues to be discussed and to

be resolved.

In our view, for 90% of the non HIV positive community people, it is

just another job in their life. For us it is part of our life.

We will continue to advocate for our life!



Lotus (An MSM CBO)

Kumbakonam, TamilNadu.

e-mail: <lotus_sangam@...>

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Dear Forum members,

Re: /message/8606

Just I want to respond to D.Ashutosh Misra mail, this forum is not only for the

elites but also for the PLHAs whose backround are different, when people working

in University of Shiffiled UK may have more knowledge and perception may differ

from the local Indian.

I can quote few examples, there are (PLHAs) people running the network

successfully without graduation or even the High School Leaving Certificate, it

is matter of their contribution, commitment, courage, being a positive, they

have done many things through GIPA, providing living example (life sharing for

the cause of HIV/AIDS)

Therefore, I want the elite groups in the AIDS INDIA Forum to support the PLHAs

instead of pointing fingers at Mr.Rajendra Singh ANP+'s mail.

I have personally seen the struggle of ANP+ in building a strong CBOs and

championing the cause of PLHAs in Assam, I have seen many illiterate who have

done a commendable job through the Positive Living Centre in Namakkal.

Those who are qualified are not intelligent in all aspect, and those who do not

attend schools are not fools, but it is matter of applying oneself to the task


There is lot of difference between the AC room and the hot sun light experienced

by the people at grass root level. One has to sit and plan in the sun light

without AC to understand the problem.


Raju reddy

e-mail: <reddy2msm@...>

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Dear Forum Members,

Re: /message/8627

Further to one of the previous responses, I would like to clarify that I fully

understand that working for HIV/AIDS is not about having qualifications, being

elite or sitting in A/C rooms and forming policies. Furthermore, instead of

seeing the epidemic from a particular viewpoint by keeping ourselves in a

specific context it should be seen as a global pandemic affecting all the

populations worldwide.

Without digressing from the main point, I would just like to emphasize that the

vacancies advertised by these organizations should have a very clear, explicit

and accurate description of the eligibility requirements for the post in order

to prevent such future controversies.

Moreover, I wonder if the whole process of filling up the post is merely to make

the PLHA contended or to chose a suitable person with required level of

expertise to implement the duties efficiently and effectively.

If former is the case, then I doubt if there is any justification for

advertising the eligibility requirements for the post as in that case the

vacancy should be advertised in a corporate manner with a star under the post

description that clearly says *CONDITONS APPLY and below that it should be

mentioned- No need of any qualification or experience for PLHA making an


I am sure that such a description of the post would automatically avert the non

positives, however qualified and experienced, to make an application which in

turn would fill the post only with PLHA.

But I firmly believe that this would indirectly add a component of

discrimination for the advertised vacancies and defy the whole endeavor to

create an equal employment opportunity.

Anyways, without deviating from the topic I would leave it to the readers to

decide for formulating a protocol in making an advertisement for these vacancies

and to devise a strategy that would try hard to reduce the stigma and

discrimination surrounding the epidemic.

At this point, I would like to reiterate that even though elites and page 3

people might not know the ground realities but it is only from these

stakeholders that policies are made which are then implemented by grass root


Anyway, I hope my profane expletives and imprecations are not pejorative to

anybody’s viewpoint and instead of pointing fingers towards each other we should

try to reach a consensus that would make us more educated, aware and clarified

about the GIPA employment practices and policies.

Thanking you,

Dr. Ashutosh Mishra. MBBS, MPH (University of Sheffield)

Email: mishraashutosh@...

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Dear AIDS India Members,

Re: /message/8633

I really appreciate those who have kept this discussion on Greater Involvement

of People living with HIV (GIPA) alive for many days. My mail would answer some

of the questions raised by different people in their mails regarding GIPA

Coordinator’s Positions.

The need for GIPA was felt as there is limited understanding and involvement of

people living with HIV at all level at community, program and policy level.

When we talk about HIV/AIDS, we need to understand two things. One is about

prevention, so that no more new person is infected with HIV and second is about

care for those already infected.

When we talk about prevention, we need to provide right information on HIV

transmission and clear myths and misconception on HIV so that people understand,

change attitudes and behaviors, and end stigma and discrimination, increase

acceptance for those living with HIV and support them to live and there by

prevent themselves if they are not yet infected with HIV. Presently there are a

lot of gaps and it could be filled only when the epidemic is made visible, when

people living with HIV are able to come out and speak for themselves, be live

examples, channel of change.

When we talk about Care, we need to get access to care treatment and support

services to all those infected with HIV by creating a conducive and an enabling

environment for testing and to receive services if they are found HIV positive.

Still over 90% of those living with HIV do not know that they have HIV and that

is the reason, our prevent do not give expected result as we have not yet

reached the un-reached. After 22 years of work in the field of HIV/AIDS in

India, we still see stigma and discrimination. There is still not an

anti-discrimination law. More and more people who are living with HIV need to

come out and talk openly about their lives. Those who are living with HIV and

have not yet reached will get peer support from them and also motivate many who

have not tested for HIV to go for HIV testing there by mainstreaming of

prevention and care will happen.

Every person living with HIV has rights as well as responsibilities.

And involvement of people living with HIV will not only protect rights of people

living with HIV by doing advocacy and peer support services but also lead to

positive prevention. If we reach out to those people with HIV, it will lead to

prevention of further HIV transmission.

This is the reason this GIPA Coordinator Positions were kept in NACP 3 so that

proper implementation of GIPA happens. We need support from everyone so that we

can do the work on HIV/AIDS effectively. We need meaningful and Greater

Involvement of People living with HIV (GIPA) for change.

A State GIPA Coordinator should be someone from PLHA Networks, a representative

from PLHIV Community, who is well aware of the PLHIV issues and PLHIV needs of

that state, good in oral and written communication so that there are no

communication gaps with the Stakeholders as well as the PLHIV Groups and

Networks in that particular state and who is capable to coordinate GIPA

activities with different departments, service providers and PLHA community.

The GIPA Coordinator will also require to do a lot of advocacy work and hence,

it will be requirement of that person to be open about his/her HIV status

publicly and should be a possessive advocate for GIPA at all levels.

We could request NACO and SACS to re-define the criteria for GIPA keeping in

mind the GIPA goal.

Yours in solidarity


National Advocacy Officer


e-mail: <celina@...>

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Dear forum,

Re: /message/8606

We often claim, India is a land of intelligent people. In this FORUM, many such

intelligent people are discussing on GIPA in general and the criteria for GIPA

selection, such as who could best coordinate GIPA in meaningful way, is it purly

HIV STATUS or a Degree ?

One year passed for NACP IIIrd phase where things has to be on place but we are

still debating while we are loosing our fellow being every moment

Unfortunately, some of the intelligent people on this FORUM are saying that

there is no need for GIPA. I reckon, any body can understand why GIPA and who

will be best to implment GIPA ?

It seems some of the more intelligent people may take this

issue to the court of law. But, by then the NACP III will be


Dear members of the forum, could we all can suggest that any obstacle to GIPA

should be dealth with priority

For Gods sake, currently, more than 50 people who are working for NATIONAL &

STATE AIDS CONTROL SOCEITYs are non PLHAS. But, it seems few can't digest even

one PLWHA working amoung them to implement GIPA programs with with real life


In such a condition, how NACO & SACS can assure that there will be GIPA.

We must stop fooling ourselves and do best for the COMMUNITY.

Brijesh Dubey


e-mail: <rnpplus1@...>

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Dear Forum,

Re: /message/8606

I have been following this debate on GIPA positions. This discussion have left

me both amazed and concerened.

If we step back and do an objective analysis without taking sides of what is

worng or percived discrimination we find that:

a) After intensively working on two national level programme, third on-going,

how less have we connected with the community of PLHIV

B) After all the community mobilization, state level networks, district level

networks, can't there be at the maximun 30 people who have been capacitated to

take up the position of the GIPA coordinator in the SACs. Even 30 is on the

higher side as I think only category I & II have this sanctioned position.

c)What has been the role of INP+, they have been part of the NACP III

formulation, been party all the discussions, couldn't they through their state

networks in consultation with the SACS and if necessary with NACO forwarded 10

names to the selection committee in each state for consideration, and then let

the selection committee decided on the

most deserving candidate.

d) But the ground truth in most of the states is that, +ve networks and the SACS

rather than being on the same playing side are on the opposing side. The point

here is the issue of advocacy or rather the strategy of advocacy which pits the

SACS and +ve networks in opposing camps. Exception are there but if you review

the mails of this fourm for the past year you will find a number of mails on

this subject.

e) This brings us to the issue of the role of NACO.

If all these issues are there, being actively disscussed over e-forums, and

various meetings, what has been the facilitation role. In the past one year what

has been the effort to play the role of the honest broker. Because if the +ve

people are left out of programming, then what is the mind bloggling figures for

900 + crores for, when the main stake holder is not in the driving seat.

f) NACO should step in but how can it when it does not have the capacity at the

national level to address the issue. The GIPA desk can be a critical point.

That needs to functional.

g) All international agencies & UN supporting the NACPIII programme also need to

contribute. UNAIDS as the coodinating sectratiate and UNDP which is the lead

for GIPA issues.

If these agencies cannot play the effective role then who can, UN can provide

the platform which NACO , INP+ , SACS and state networks

can use for an effective dialog for programming.

But this would mean effectively engaging with various stakeholders. Are all

these agencies willing to take up the difficult task or play safe?


Aniruddha Brahmachari

E-mail: <anirudh162001@...>

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Dear Forum,

Re: /message/8606

Mr. Anirudh Brahmachari has well clarifed the the fundemantal issues. The issue

is not about experience and understanding of issues, but about equity. If we

only look at the expertise, adequate experience and academic qualification in

order to fill in the position, then let us not use the term 'GIPA' - Two decades

ago, the movement of people with disabilitites used to say 'Nothing about us

without us'.

The same should be applicable here and the state mechanisms should provide such

opportunities. Now that we have an opportunity, other NGOs, CBOs, and People's

network who claim to be associated closely with the constituency should

facilitate such environment.


Saraswathi Rao

e-mail: <sara510@...>

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