United States Launches HIV Workplace Education Program in Vietnam
The United States yesterday launched a $600,000 program to foster HIV/AIDS education in the workplace in Vietnam, the Associated Press reports. The program seeks to prevent the spread of the disease and build a more tolerant workplace for HIV-positive people. Several workers in Vietnam were fired in the early 1990s after testing HIV-positive; consequently, many infections probably went undetected, as people did not want to be tested and risk being ostracized, according to the Associated Press. "Part of the program is to try to decrease the discrimination and stigma," U.S. Department of Labor representative Jennifer Bacchus said, adding, "They plan to explain to employers (that) just because somebody is HIV-positive, it doesn't mean they cannot work. They need to come up with a way to support them. And that doesn't mean firing them, but helping them get the help they need." Bacchus said that the program will address condom and needle use "if people are having unprotected sex" or "if there's a big drug problem." Injection drug users are believed to be most at risk for HIV infection in Vietnam. The United States funds similar programs in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Ukraine. Health experts estimate that 135,000 Vietnamese people are HIV-positive; government figures show that there are about 56,000 HIV-positive people, with more than 4,600 AIDS-related deaths since Vietnam's first HIV case was reported in 1990 (Associated Press, 1/23).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.