|HIV/AIDS Networking Guide - A comprehensive resource for individuals and organisations who wish to build, strengthen or sustain a network (International Council of AIDS Service Organisations, 1997, 48 p.)|
|Chapter 1 - Networking for a More Effective Response To HIV and AIDS|
In order for AIDS networks to be truly representative of and responsive to the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS (PHAs) it is imperative that they find ways to ensure the involvement of PHAs in a meaningful way.
The main advantages of PHA participation in AIDS networks are summarized below.
PHA Empowerment: As PHAs become more mobilized throughout the community-based AIDS movement, they have demanded to speak on their own behalf. AIDS networks with no serious PHA involvement have been challenged to stop speaking on behalf of PHAs.
Vision and Leadership: As the needs of PHAs change, and grow, some PHAs have provided AIDS networks with the necessary leadership for expanding policy and program directions to meet the needs of an expanding and changing pandemic.
Skills and Knowledge: PHAs have enhanced every aspect of the AIDS movement, including networks, with their considerable and varied skill sets.
Motivation: PHAs bring a high degree of personal investment, motivation, dedication, compassion, and commitment to networking.
Credibility: PHA involvement in AIDS networks legitimizes these networks. Networks with greater PHA involvement are usually more attuned to the changing needs of PHAs and therefore are more effective advocates.
Adapted from Living and Serving: Persons with HIV in the Canadian AIDS Movement, by Charles M. Roy (D.S.W), 1996. Charles, presently the Executive Director of the AIDS Committee of Toronto, tested HIV positive in 1987. He has worked extensively in the AIDS movement, both as a volunteer and as an employee.