GIPA is an acronym for Greater Involvement of People Living with HIV and/or AIDS. MEPA is an acronym for Meaningful Engagement of People Living with HIV and/or AIDS.
At its most basic, GIPA/MEPA means:
- Recognizing the important contribution people living with HIV/AIDS (PHAs) can make in the response to the epidemic.
- Creating space within organizations and society for their meaningful involvement and active participation in all aspects of that response.
The HIV response has had a long and powerful history of involving and engaging PHAs. In Canada, this has resulted in changes to health care practices, and has been articulated in Living and Serving 1, 2 & 3 as well as the Ontario Accord. Globally, these have been developed and acknowledged through key activities including the Denver Principles (1983), the Montreal Manifesto (1989), the Paris Declaration (1994), United Nations Policy Brief (2007), GIPA/MEPA included in International NGOs Code of Good Practice (2004).
There are important benefits of GIPA/MEPA for PHAs, the organization and the community including:
- PHAs become full participants in decisions affecting their care and support
- PHA capacity to participate and lead is enhanced; this can contribute to improved mental health, increased self-esteem and reduced sense of social isolation
- Increased knowledge creates a sense of empowerment
- Programs become more flexible, responsive and effective
- Increased organizational credibility and accountability in the community
- Public acknowledgement helps to eliminate stigma and discrimination at all levels
- GIPA/MEPA increases capacity-building and knowledge exchange for all stakeholders
While we have had decades to understand, commit and embed GIPA/MEPA within our work, there continues to be tension and challenges around truly incorporating GIPA/MEPA into the day-to-day work of organizations.
What does this mean locally / at your organization?
We suggest you chat with your supervisor and/or colleagues and learn about the following:
- What policies, procedures and guidelines exist around GIPA/MEPA in your organization?
- What are the organizational strengths and tensions around GIPA/MEPA?
- Are there specific implications and expectations of GIPA/MEPA that relate to my role and/or the communities that we work with?
Core Curriculum training:
GIPA/MEPA online video/webinar (in development): www.oodp.ca