Thursday, June 05, 2008

Promoting Greater Involvement of People Living with HIV in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam and is located near the Mekong Delta. It is also the center of trade and industry with 82 million total populations. According to the 2007 Family International Report, there is an estimate 72,400 HIV and AIDS cases in the country. With this increasing alarming concern of the epidemic, the United Nations’ Greater Involvement of PLHIV (GIPA) Project under the Ho Chi Minh Women’s Union continues to strengthen its advocacy work and collaboration with local civil society organizations on the prevention and control of HIV and AIDS in the country.

Last May 14, 2008, the Health Action Information Network (HAIN) had an opportunity to learn the initiatives and experiences of GIPA Vietnam. Mr. Enrico Caja, GIPA coordinator and its local counterpart Ms. Nguyen Vu Huong Giang led the presentation and facilitated the open forum. GIPA’s objectives are to increase access to treatment and services; lessen stigma and discrimination towards PLHIVs; increase understanding and support for GIPA; and promote volunteerism and participation among PLHIVs on HIV and AIDS activities. With the help of its international partners like UN Volunteers and Euro-Asia AIDS Cooperation, GIPA performs the following initiatives: provides a venue for PLHIV Interaction, counseling and referral, information sharing through IEC materials and website, capacity building, network and collaboration, advocacy programs, volunteer promotion and organizing support groups of families and PLHIVs.

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