Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The 567 Group’s Fight for AIDS

The 567 group was established in November 2003 to address the need to have a support group for the people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHAs) in Vietnam. The 567 group is composed of parents of PLWHAs who live in wards 5, 6 and 7 of Vung Tau city. A ward is equivalent to a barangay in the Philippines.

In a brief encounter with Mr. Dzung Chi, an officer of the 567 group, he discussed the history and objective of the group. The group organizes and provides care and treatment, including antiretroviral, to PLWHAs from Vung Tau, Tien Giang and Ca Mau who in the past needed to go to Ho Chi Minh City for support services. Located several hours away from Ho Chi Minh, Mr. Chi lamented that Vung Tau lack access to health services.

Another objective of 567 is to make other people understand about HIV/AIDS and ARVs to gather more support for the PLWHAs.

Aside from health service, the group also encourage PLWHAs to avail the free services, plan treatment schedules for new patients, provide counseling for individuals and groups of patients and their relatives, link patients to other needed services, and help patients on drug compliance.

The home-based care and support is an effective way of helping each other so that mothers of PLWHAs can better take care of their children. They also establish partnerships with other groups such as GIPA.

One concrete example of their activity is having a pilot group of goodwill volunteers supporting HIV/AIDS testing and treatment at clinic No. 8 of the Tropical Diseases Hospital which specializes in AIDS treatment of South Vietnam. The clinic gathers many well-experienced doctors and implements many small and big projects on HIV/AIDS.
A lot of the patients received treatment at the clinic No.8. Some patients have been receiving treatment for more than six years at this clinic.

While 567 Group receives financial support from VCSPA & HAVAG, they also aim to be self-sustainable by putting up a coffee shop in Ho Chi Minh.

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