Positive Action was created in 1992 as the first pharmaceutical programme of support for communities affected by HIV and AIDS. ViiV Healthcare is proud to continue the Positive Action programme and its valuable work with these communities.
Positive Action works with those communities most vulnerable to HIV disease, including youth, girls and women, sex workers, gay men, men who have sex with men (MSM), transgender people, injecting drug users (IDU), the homeless and the incarcerated.
The programme targets its funds towards projects that fulfill one or more of these criteria:
- Delivering greater and meaningful involvement of people living with HIV
- Building capacity in grassroots communities
- Preventing HIV
- Tackling stigma and discrimination, and
- Testing innovations in education, care and treatment
Our projects range across education, prevention, care and treatment-related activity such as treatment literacy and community/clinical engagement. We also fund action research into how these areas can be improved. Details of current and recent projects may be found at "Our Programmes". Here is an overview of the key themes covered by Positive Action.
Delivering greater and meaningful involvement of people living with HIV
The Greater Involvement of People living with HIV (GIPA) principle – the adoption of strategies and practices that deliver the greater and meaningful involvement of people living with HIV in AIDS policy, programming and service delivery – has often been quoted since its formalisation at the 1994 Paris AIDS summit and its adoption at the UN General Assembly Special Session on AIDS in 2001. Actually delivering GIPA is more challenging, so Positive Action has adopted it as one of its criteria for selecting projects and partners, for example the Zingatia Maisha project in Kenya and the Criminalisation Scan with the Global Network of People living with HIV/AIDS (GNP+) and the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) in Europe.
Building capacity in the community
Communities affected by HIV may face many challenges that require significant resources, time and skills to address.
Activities to share skills and experiences between East and West Europe with AIDS Action Europe
Positive Action has supported the formation of local, regional and global organisations of people living with and affected by HIV and their networks. We continue to support programmes that help to build the capacity of communities and their organisations.
The first step to HIV prevention is to provide information to those who need it. The second is to help them challenge attitudes that prevent them acting on that information. And the third is to enable behaviour change, perhaps by supplying community-based interventions, counselling or condoms.
HIV Prevention education with Reach India
Many Positive Action projects pursue this kind of primary prevention, notably our work with Reach India, Ubuntu in South Africa and the many small projects of the Staying Alive Foundation targeting young people.
From 2005 we supported the Prevention and Treatment Advocacy Project at the International Council of AIDS Service Organizations, pursuing an appropriate balance in HIV programming.
The prevention of mother to child transmission is one of the focuses of the new Positive Action for Children Fund.
Tackling stigma and discrimination
People affected by HIV and AIDS have experienced stigma and discrimination since the first appearance of the epidemic. People's fear of disease and death was compounded by transmission of HIV being sexual and by existing attitudes to some of those most vulnerable to infection.
Peer to peer support to address stigma with La Vida Digna
This stigma remains a real barrier to access to essential services, whether prevention, care or treatment. Self-stigma prevents people from coming forward, while active HIV discrimination is commonly found in communities, public services, health care and the legal system. Stigma is addressed by many Positive Action projects and is the specific target of our work with Vida Digna in Mexico and El Salvador.
Testing innovations in education, care and treatment
Where antiretroviral treatment has become available, the success of that provision depends on many factors and some of these have to be addressed by and with the affected community: involving people living with HIV and AIDS (GIPA); tackling discrimination; reducing stigma; education about treatment, adherence, side effects (achieving "treatment literacy"); promoting healthy living and positive health, dignity and prevention.
In Kenya, Positive Action has enabled communities and healthcare providers to work together to improve services, access and adherence.
- Positive Action supports several projects designed to enhance anti-retroviral treatment programmes by promoting community involvement and engagement with health services, including its work with Zingatia Maisha in Kenya and amfAR in Asia.