Curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS is a human rights issue. A commitment to solidarity, hope and compassion promotes comprehensive campaign as for HIV/AIDS prevention. It may result in a holistic effort to strengthen community based network through advocacy, capacity building and behavioral change communication (BCC). Having no minimal amenities, community people are led to vulnerabilities to HIV/AIDS enormously. They are mostly disadvantaged due to having no access to basic rights. If there is any community based common plan in support of the local response to HIV epidemic the reasons of vulnerability may be removed gradually and effectively.
Community based strategic plan to address HIV/AIDS should be outlined to prevent escalation of epidemic through action research in ways that recognize human rights and self-respect. In this aspect, it is greatly essential to organize social mobilization and accelerate support form local stakeholders and development partners involved in the community based response to HIV. There is no doubt that community based approach is a fundamental mechanism to stimulate the local contribution to deal with HIV/AIDS. To gather maximum support for community based efforts on HIV/AIDS, at first programs have to emphasize on coming in close contact with the local people. This is the effective means to be familiar with the values and perception of local people. Then they will be made to understand and perform the desired responsibility in response to HIV/AIDS.
Community based strategic plan encompassing local expertise and constructive commitment should be initiated to subvert the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the light of national HIV policy framework and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It would allow a profound and greater understanding of the nature of epidemic, its spread and eventuality.
According to UNAIDS estimates, over half of new HIV infections are occurring among young people (15-24 years) – or over 7,000 new infections a day worldwide. Around 95% of people with HIV/AIDS live in the communities of developing countries. Nowadays HIV is a common threat to men, women and children in all communities throughout the world. The challenges in responding to HIV/AIDS may vary enormously from community to community owing to geographical location, livelihood status, social infrastructure and so on. Cross border movement, women trafficking, neighboring to high prevalent communities, gaps in health care delivery, low levels of HIV/AIDS awareness and sexual bondage because of poverty make the communities vulnerable affecting public health systems. To combat this vulnerability with regard to HIV/AIDS, there is no single solution. But integrated community approach may play an influential role to protect from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). This is why adopting a gender sensitive and human rights based approach, community oriented strategic plan will be well-equipped and groomed with a wide range of local stakeholders’ support and participation to address HIV/AIDS. Side by side community people will be efficient to discuss and develop norms, values and practice as to safe sexual behavior.
Community focused strategic plan for HIV/AIDS has to be based on the reality of the epidemic engendered from thorough case studies. The prevalence of HIV may remain low in communities. But there are some considerable factors that can play vital role to fuel its rapid spread extensively. Polygamy, dowry, gender violence & discrimination, believes in superstitions as well as lack of safe health practice may kindle the spread of HIV/AIDS. If the awareness is not shaped fruitfully community wise, all of the programs to undermine the spread of HIV/AIDS will be failed. For instance, HIV/AIDS prevalence was low for many years in Indonesia even with lots of risky behavior. But in the past two or three years, the circumstances have been changed. At present, HIV/AIDS prevalence is growing severely in several communities of the country.
At last we may infer that any kind of community based strategic plan should be comprehensive, consistent, coordinated, constructive, consequence oriented and above all committed to community exclusively. Capitalizing on these key characteristics indicated by six C’s, it will be possible to attain a high watermark of success to combat skyrocketing vulnerability to HIV/AIDS.
Anirudha Alam is a prominent human resource development specialist and trainer. At present he is working in a national NGO and community centered national organization named Bangladesh Extension Education Services (BEES) as a Deputy Director (Information & Development Communication) and Trainer. He is the Executive Board Member of Bangladesh Project Management Institute (BPMI) a training & research organization as well. He writes and edits more than forty books and a good number of articles on various issues like human resource development, training, community development & mobilization, women empowerment, human rights, education awareness, social development, income generating activities, environment awareness, reproductive health, HIV/AIDS awareness, juvenile literature, short stories and so on. His noteworthy books are Kulsums and Karims (a collection of success stories of disadvantaged community people of Bangladesh), Kulsums (a collection of success stories of disadvantaged & destitute community women of Bangladesh), The Reflections (a collection of posters on literacy & education of Bangladesh), Towards a New Hope, Social Assistance Message Collection, Social Assistance Advocacy Manual, Eaisab Rat Din (a collection of juvenile poems), Du Sha Bachharer Sera Bangla Kishor Galapa (a collection of juvenile Bengali stories of two hundred years) etc.