Friday, June 27, 2008

AIDS Programme Vietnam

AIDS Programme Vietnam is an NGO based at the central district of Ho Chi Min City. Its vision is towards the empowerment of the poor to achieve a quality life. Its mission is to increase knowledge of the people particularly the people living with HIV (PLHIV). It also addresses related issues such as women and children’s rights, prevention, treatment, care and support of HIV and STIs (sexually transmitted infections). AIDS Programme makes sure that their programs and projects are aligned with the National AIDS Programme.

The organization provides services to seven slum areas in Ho Chi Min City. Its services include capability building on methods of communication, social networking, harm reduction, literacy and other relevant issues. They also have a Savings and Credit Program or the Microlending which have 35 group memberships. This, they believe will contribute to the empowerment of the people. The organization also provides academic scholarships to deserving students in the community. They give one scholarship for every community. Currently, they have a total of 45 scholarship awards. For those who are out-of-school-youth they help provide vocational trainings such as mechanics. Some of them have finished school and have rendered services to the organization either as employees or volunteers.

With AIDS Programme Vietnam’s many projects, the organization has adapted the participatory approach where they opened their organization to volunteers who are willing to serve the community. The organization has 10 full time staff and is augmented by 20 volunteers who provide assistance to women’s groups, children in school, to PLHIV, especially home care services to 150 PLHIVs. The volunteers live with the community.

The organization has also partnered with HIV/AIDS Vietnam Action Group (HAVAG) which is based in Hanoi. HAVAG provides technical assistance to AIDS Programme in training, harm reduction, peer education and communication.

One of the major projects of the organization is the procurement of ARVs from drug companies at a lesser price, which is 15-25% cheaper. This is to ensure that even PLHIVs with low income can still access ARVs including access to opportunistic infection drugs for free.

The organization also publish newsletter both in electronic and in print format. The newsletter is written in Vietnamese. They said that though many Vietnamese cannot read English well, they also welcome materials from other organizations.

IDU or injecting drug use is high in HCMC. Being one of the major modes of transmission, the organization has also implemented programs for IDU which is community based. This includes support for detoxification and needle exchange. However, IDUs still live in the shadows, and so this program is carefully implemented. Bringing needles for the needle exchange program is illegal and can put the peer educators at risk when delivering services.

The organization believes that it still has many works to do in response to AIDS. They also believe that change cannot be achieved immediately but slowly, they hope to have a non-discriminatory society for people living with HIV.

For more info, please contact AIDS Programme Vietnam, 54/32 Le Quang Dinh., Binh Thanh., HCMC, Vietnam
Telefax: 84.8.8416158
Contact persons: Ms. Ngyuyen Thi Kim Dung and Mr. Tran Thai Hiep

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