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UNDP Regional HIV and Development Programme
From Involvement to Empowerment: People Living with HIV/AIDS in Asia Pacific
UNDP, November 2004, 57 pp

"The complex challenges posed by the HIV/AIDS epidemic calls for an extraordinary set of responses. Years of engagement with the epidemic have brought home a fundamental realisation that the active participation and support of People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) are critical for an effective, humane response to HIV/AIDS. It has been reiterated in several countries where the reversal of the epidemic has an indisputable link with the conscious efforts to respect the fundamental rights of PLWHA. It has also been convincingly expressed in international treaties and commitments. However, the meaningful involvement of PLWHA in the response to HIV/AIDS is yet to gain momentum in the Asia Pacific region. On the one hand, decision makers do not seem to fully appreciate the potential demonstrated by PLWHA, while on the other there are limitations - some inherent and some imposed - on the capacities of PLWHA. Since 2001, UNDP has developed and supported a number of initiatives in partnership with a range of PLWHA groups and organisations, bi and multilateral and civil society organisations to support the needs for capacity building and empowerment articulated
by PLWHA. These initiatives originated from a philosophy of inclusiveness that helped people listen, learn and respond to one another and forge partnerships. These initiatives utilised a wide range of tools: policy dialogues, networking, advocacy, and capacity and leadership development. The efforts have contributed to the gradual emergence of empowered PLWHA leaders and groups in the region, who have shown immense potential to positively influence their future as well as the course of the epidemic. This report documents the efforts by UNDP to support the empowerment of PLWHA and their groups in the Asia Pacific from 2001 to 2004 and the lessons learnt in the process."

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