Discussion Question 1: What do you think - were the most important factors that led to the implementation of the Gujarat AIDS Prevention Unit? It might be helpful to consider this question by thinking of: (a) factors relating to SIRMCE as an organisation; (b) factors relating to the problems the project was planning to address; and (c) factors relating to potential support for the project.
(a) Factors relating to SIRMCE as an organisation:
-. SIRMCE’s members had been interested in HIV/AIDS for a couple of years before the project started.
-. SIRMCE’s members were clearly a committed group with a strong social conscience, as shown by their action following the newspaper reports of HIV-infected vaccines. As they learned more about HIV infection and AIDS through their discussions, they would also have begun to understand the risks the community - and they themselves - faced if the local blood supply were contaminated.
-. SIRMCE already had links into the community from their previous programmes. For example, with womens’ organisations, consumer groups, and the Rotary and Lions Clubs.
-. SIRMCE had international connections (through SIRMCE/Luxembourg and through attending international seminars), so the members would have a good idea of the potential impact of HIV/AIDS on India and the potential rates of spread through the blood donor system.
(b) Factors relating to the problems the project was planning to address:
-. A contaminated blood supply would be seen as a serious problem by the community, by the clinicians themselves and by those in positions of authority, since it could affect any one of them or their families.
-. There has been a lot of attention given worldwide to protection of blood supply; this is seen as a priority by governments and donors and the actions that can be taken are relatively simple as compared to trying to change the sexual behaviours of individuals.
-. The only potential 'losers' in this programme were the blood donors themselves. Everyone else (i.e. blood collection laboratories, the hospitals and the potential blood transfusion recipients) would gain from an uncontaminated blood supply. Therefore, the project would be likely to get cooperation from most parties, but had to deal carefully with the commercial blood donors to get their support.
It might be useful for participants to identify the different groups who might be affected by the GAP programme, to assess whether the impact would be negative or positive and, against this analysis, to examine the strategies that GAP used.
(c) Factors relating to potential support for the project:
-. Local donors, such as the Rotarians and Lions Club members of SIRMCE, had already shown their interest in the problem of an HIV-infected blood supply back in 1988, and SIRMCE had then established a special group to monitor the situation.
-. IPPF had already shown their interest in supporting SIRMCE's activities in HIV/AIDS by agreeing to provide funds and a consultant to support the AIDS awareness and prevention workshop. SIRMCE's proposal for the project was developed at that workshop, so IPPF would have had an even greater incentive to help in its implementation.
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