Vietnamese Program Aims To Involve Society in HIV Prevention Efforts
A new Web site aimed at providing HIV-positive people with a forum to share information with each other and the community launched last week in Vietnam as part of a project that aims to increase society's overall involvement in the country's fight against HIV/AIDS, the VNA/TMCNet reports. Khuat Thi Hai Oanh, a project officer, said people typically focus on prevention and safety regarding HIV-negative people when discussing prevention, adding that they do not appreciate the role HIV-positive people can play in such efforts. She also said that social workers in the field of HIV prevention have said that people living with the virus are usually the object of intervention, rather than the subjects of change.
According to VNA/TMCNet, experiences in countries like Thailand and Cambodia have indicated that people living with HIV/AIDS who play an active role in prevention efforts are crucial to success. In Vietnam, there have been clubs and networks geared toward helping people living with HIV/AIDS lead healthy lives and prevent the spread of the disease. The project that designed the Web site was launched in July 2007 and is dedicated to preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS through communication and information, as well as calling for the involvement of society as a whole -- particularly those living with HIV. The project is funded through a partnership between the Ford Foundation, the Institute for Social Development Studies and the "For a Bright Future" network.
Ministry of Health data indicate that HIV cases have been reported in all 63 of Vietnam's provinces and cities throughout the country and that 84% of people living with HIV/AIDS are between ages 20 and 39 (VNA/TMCNet, 2/24).