The GIPA Charter and Revival of the Candlelight Campaign

Apr 7, 2023 | News

  1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. News
  4.  » The GIPA Charter and Revival of the Candlelight Campaign

The GIPA Charter and Revival of the Candlelight Campaign

-Simangaliso Motsepe

The South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) and the National Department of Health (NDoH) recently held a brainstorming meeting on the proposed Greater Involvement for People Living with HIV (GIPA) Charter and the revival of the Candlelight campaign.

The brainstorming session was aimed at guiding the structuring and reinforcement of the Charter and coming up with ways to shape the candlelight session during the upcoming National AIDS Conference. It is hoped that the Charter will make everyone recognise, realise, and acknowledge the role of people living with HIV (PLHIV) and the importance of placing communities at the centre of HIV, TB, and STIs. The session will also raise awareness of the achievements made so far to alleviate HIV as a public threat in communities as opposed to only remembering those who perished due to HIV and TB.

In their presentation, the PLHIV Sector provided a background of the origins of the Charter, and also added that the sector felt that the Charter was led by other people, which goes against the saying that there is nothing about us without us. According to the Sector, the UN endorsed that each country must follow the principle. The PLHIV sector said that we the country must be truly multisectoral in its coordination of HIV, TB, and STIs response in the country. The sector wants full participation in all key engagements ranging from the programme design to implementation. It wants to be consulted and also allowed to initiate programmes.

Speaking at the brainstorming session, Mr. Charles Maponya from the PLHIV Sector stated that the sector didn’t want to see GIPA only during World AIDS Day and Candle Lighting Memorials. “We need to be involved in the AIDS Secretariats from the Local to National Level so we can be able to address challenges of people living with HIV from within,” said Mr. Maponya. Attending the discussions virtually, Prof Mbulelo Dyasi, a member of the PLWHIV Sector, said “We need to advance campaigns by giving support in all spheres of our sectors, especially through funding. We must continue with our government mandate on policy including NSP implementation in the country.”

People living with HIV believe that they should lead the review and implementation of GIPA to ensure that their voices are heard in the country’s response efforts. They believe that this could also assist with issues of treatment adherence, treatment fatigue and other related challenges.