Positive Life Association and An Overview of History of HIV/AIDS
Positive Life Association formally established in 2005. Before this date, various associations had existed, people living with HIV/AIDS had the chance getting together in various activities. However none of these groups hadn’t organized, in contrary our friends had tried to keep away from each other. Such that, unity hadn’t been realized in the centers that they had their treatments, because of the fear that is fed from the prejudices, a type of behavior has evolved seeing each other as treats. AIDS Prevention Society, found in the early 1990s, become the most important actor and address in HIV/AIDS field.
In Turkey, AIDS Prevention and Fighting Societies had been established simultaneously and had started operating in several cities. All of these associations had carried out important and valuable goals of prevention of HIV epidemic, informing society and creating awareness.
In 2003, some of our friends, using their personal connections, have realized the first meetings of the association. By the time, a few medical doctors, a few activists and also representative from UNAIDS have participated in these meetings. In October 2003, “hivpozitif” mailing group was created and continuous communication possibility was achieved. This e-mail group became a breathing space and information channel for the people living with HIV especially not in Istanbul but having internet access. The e-mail group has been creating an important platform of communication for the people living with HIV preferring not getting together face-to-face. E-mail list still exists as an independent platform from the association and continues its importance.
People, inside or outside of this e-mail list rather prefer coming together physically, put forward the wish of converting this coexistence as formal identity. In 2004, acceleration of the process of conversion to the form of association become more professional look by performing the steps of writing the statutes of association, determining the goals and purposes, having more clear mission and vision. In April 2005, our association was established by the official documents. And the acceptance and the approval of our association by the Governorship was obtained in June 2005. For this reason, we see the birth-date of our association as June 2005.
Showing the courage to handle the issues related with HIV/AIDS in whole country, our association has been trying to be professional way of working with amateur spirit. In the establishment stage, we were consisted of a few medical doctors and also a few social activist, and housewives with children with no working experience and people from various segment of society living with HIV/AIDS. We were having lack of financial strength but brave enough to fight for our issue. We were observing the effect of our slightest try to change people’s lives. Our friends, keeping away from each other in the queues in the hospitals, were accompanying each other in the hospitals and supporting and advocating each other’s rights. After all, our friends living with HIV/AIDS were getting together without seeing each other as treat and without fear.
In 2006 after one year of our establishment date, an organization named as Global Fund, that was found to fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in global scale, has opened a support programme as grant of 5 million USD for preventing HIV/AIDS in Turkey. Only the part of 1.5 million USD of this budget is facilitated to the non-governmental organizations. Within the framework programme carried out by the Ministry of Health, we were given a part from this source of grant and we used this source for establishment of Positive Living Support Center. So far, in our support center, we have given supporting services more than 1,000 different people more than thousands of time. We are observing the rightness of our goal in establishing our association, trueness of our practices and how important changes we have been creating in society, state, media, health workers and people living with HIV/AIDS. Never limiting our expectancy, without loosing our sight towards our goals, creating new goals and services, we try to do our best and most. Throughout this period, all the friends who lost their lives, we remember them with deep love, respect and gratefulness and we thank all our friends who have been contributing to our goals.
Translated by Fatih Egelioğlu