People Living with HIV/AIDS Meet with Vice President Truong My Hoa and Reps of Central Party Commissions and the National Assembly
HA NOI - Vice President Truong My Hoa and leaders of Central Party Commissions and the National Assembly of Viet Nam joined 50 members of the Bright Future group in Ha Noi today to recognize World AIDS Day and the key role people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) can play in HIV/AIDS prevention, as well as to highlight the State's and Party's efforts to put an end to stigma and discrimination against PLWHA.
The Bright Future, a voluntary group of people living with HIV/AIDS, was established three years ago in Ha Noi, to help PLWHA and their families in all aspects, improve their knowledge of HIV/AIDS to better take care of themselves and their family members, access healthcare, and prevent further infection. For many in the group, it was their first time meeting with such high-level delegates from the Party and National Assembly and for the representatives in attendance, it was an excellent opportunity to hear the concerns of PLWHA first-hand and to show support for the role they have to play in HIV/AIDS prevention.
“Given increased complexities of the spread of HIV, it is important to find more effective approach for prevention of HIV/AIDS”, said Vice President Truong My Hoa. “First and foremost, stigma and discrimination against PLWHA must be eliminated so as to enable more meaningful participation of PLWHA in advocacy activities, in mobilizing and persuading those who are in the same situation or have high-risked behaviours, and especially in counseling and caring of other PLWHA. Valuable contribution by members of pioneered groups like Bright Future is a great example of successful socialization of prevention of HIV/AIDS.”
The visit today is organized by CCSE, in coordination with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) on the occasion of the World AIDS day (1st December) to reaffirm the highest political commitment of the State, the Party, and Vietnamese people to reducing stigma and discrimination against PLWHA, in the light of the new Party Directive on strengthening leadership for prevention of HIV/AIDS in a new context, which will be promulgated shortly. The new Directive emphasizes key measures that need to be implemented with determination and consistency for effective prevention of HIV/AIDS, including reducing stigma and discrimination against PLWHA, providing policies for support and care of PLWHA, and encouraging participation of socio-political organisations, national and foreign individuals and organisations, and formation of social groups for prevention of HIV/AIDS.
“PLWHA have a vital role to play in responding to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Vietnam,” said UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Subinay Nandy. “Their contribution should extend beyond ideas, to active and meaningful participation in the decision-making process that affects their lives. Events like this today help us all to see the importance of making this happen.”
Fifty PLWHA from Bright Future, on behalf of more than five hundred members of their group in Ha Noi, Hai Phong, Quang Ninh, Thai Binh, Hai Duong, and Thai Nguyen discussed how to mobilize and promote PLWHA participation with Vice President Truong My Hoa, representatives from the Party Commission for Science and Education, the Party Commission for Ideology and Culture, and Committee for Social Affairs of the National Assembly including Mme. Nguyen Thi Hoai Thu.
The Ministry of Health estimates that 100 people are newly infected with HIV every day in Viet Nam and that all 64 provinces have now been affected. The number of people living with HIV more than doubled in Viet Nam between 2000 and 2005.
For 18 years, World AIDS Day has been celebrated on December 1st to raise awareness of the global AIDS epidemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. Over 40 million people are now infected worldwide and over 30 million have already died of AIDS.
Ms. Nguyen Thi Thanh Van, UNDP Poverty and Social Development Unit,
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Ms. Nguyen Viet Lan, UNDP Media and Publications Unit
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