Monday, 19 January 2009

How-to Join AIDSPortal

Welcome to AIDSPortal. Do you want to get involved? Then become an AIDSPortal member!

First, do you have affiliation with an AIDS organization? Are you 18 years of age or older? If you answered yes to both, and you are a hands-on kind of person, then being a member of AIDSPortal is right up your alley.

You must be wondering why you need to be a member. Of course there is information you can access without membership. However, for more interactive and in-depth participation you need to join AIDSPortal. As a member you will:

  • Connect with practionners, researchers and policy makers who are responding to HIV and AIDS
  • Research organisations in your region and build partnerships
  • Directly add and publicise your events and programme resources
  • Receive personalized email alerts
  • Save your searches
  • Create personal document libraries

How does this become possible?

Through your own personal homepage. We know your life is already busy and you visit so many websites; so, what’s new here? Well it’s simple to be here. The homepage is there to help you organise the information you find on AIDSPortal.

What else is there on the homepage?

Saved Searches and Pages – Email Alerts: As any effective library, the homepage allows you to save searches and email alerts so you do not miss anything about the issues you are interested in.

Page Alerts: Have you ever viewed a page on a site and returned later to notice something had changed? You scratch your head wondering what has changed. Well, with ‘Page Alerts’ as long as you ‘tag’ the page, we will let you know when the pages you are interested in are updated. With pleasure!

Libraries: You do not need to hunting for the information you want. Documents and contacts you are interested in can be saved as ‘Libraries’!

Jobs: Are you looking for the perfect person to work at your organisation? Let your colleagues know about it!


Now that you know some of the great features and benefits waiting for you, let’s go to how you can join.

Where? The request form is here:

How to fill in the request form?

It is very important to fill in all the places marked required.

  • Username – It is best to use one short word. Your username is case (uppercase and lowercase) and space sensitive.
  • Password – The best combination is the use of letters and numbers. Although there is no character limitation, the shorter the better (so you will remember it!). The password is als o case and space sensitive.

  • Organization Name – AIDSPortal members must be affiliated with an organisation responding to HIV and AIDS.

  • Postal Code – If your country does not use postal codes simply type in 00000.

  • Phone number – Please include country and area codes. Even though your phone number is optional, it increases other member‘s ability to contact you this way. We are also developing some exciting mobile phone services which will allow you to receive and contribute information through your mobile phone!

  • Email Address – We need your email address to be able to confirm your membership.

A moderator will respond by email within a few days - if successful, see you next time you login as a member!

This 'how-to' join post was written by Mildred Mugocheki, an AIDSPortal volunteer. This is the first in a series of 'how-to' guides that she will be working on. Let us know if there is something you would like to know 'how-to' do!

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Looking back to go Forward

At this time when organizations are unveiling their priorities for the year, I wonder how much time and effort is spent looking at progress/evaluation reports produced outside their own, and other mainstream structures like government and the UN.

I am drawn back to three reports released at the end of last year that AIDSPortal highlighted on its website and regional newsletters. These include: Scenarios from Africa 2008, The Treatment Barometer: A Survey of Treatment provision for PLHIV in Southern Africa, The Global Health Watch 2, Undoubtedly, there are many more.

Scenarios from Africa 2008 presents a form of qualitative analysis of young people’s (median age of 16 years) knowledge and views on HIV based on their competition entries of a story for a short film on HIV. About 40 thousand youths from 43 countries (4 in southern Africa) submitted more than 18 000 texts. Among the findings are:

· Young people do not make connections between STIs and HIV, most probably because organizations tend to divorce HIV prevention from reproductive health programmes
· While condom use is gaining support among young people, they tend to view faithfulness and abstinence as too difficult to achieve- a worrying trend as they move into adulthood
· Young people rarely express alternatives to transactional and age-disparate sex, regarding them as all-pervasive and inevitable. photo credit: Eva-Lotta Jansson/IRIN

The Treatment Barometer records the findings of a community initiative to assess progress on provision of HIV treatment and the extent to which governments in Southern Africa have met their commitments:

· Hidden behind figures of expanding rates of national treatment coverage is the fact that rural and peri-urban populations struggle to access services due to weak procurement and logistical systems as well as centralization of services.
· Stigmatization by health care workers is cited as one of the key deterrents to uptake of treatment.
· In addition to national and regional advocacy efforts, civil society can bolster AIDS programmes by providing community based treatment literacy and psychosocial support

The point is, there are many other sources of information that are useful for organizations when critically analyzing their contribution to the HIV response, looking at new areas for engagement and developing useful partnerships.