The fight against discrimination
Despite an overall low HIV/AIDS prevalence rate, HIV/AIDS is spreading at a rapid rate in Viet Nam. HIV/AIDS has now been reported in all 64 provinces and major cities of Viet Nam. In 2005, one in every 60 households in Viet Nam had a person living with HIV. The latest epidemiological data indicates a more serious epidemic could be on the way and if the response is not swift enough, it could threaten the long-term socio-economic stability of the country.
People living with HIV/AIDS are especially vulnerable to slide back into poverty as families lose income earners, and family members must give up work to look after loved ones. This could have a significant effect on Viet Nam’s progress in poverty reduction as many Vietnamese sit on the very edge of the poverty line.
From the very first Government initiatives to fight HIV/AIDS in 1992, UNDP was there. This support continues today. One of the worst effects of HIV/AIDS is the stigma and discrimination that people living HIV/AIDS must face. UNDP works to build the capacity and strengthen leadership and policy to eliminate this destructive side-effect of HIV. Working with the Communist Party of Viet Nam, the National Assembly and the Ministry of Health, UNDP further encourages the meaninful participation of people living HIV/AIDS in the decision-making process.
HIV/AIDS as a development issue
UNDP promotes HIV/AIDS as a development issue and the inclusion of HIV/AIDS policies and programmes into the national and local socio-economic development plans. Together with its national and international partners, UNDP has been advocating for a comprehensive and multisectoral, stigma and discrimination free, gender-sensitive approach to reduce and prevent HIV/AIDS in Viet Nam. UNDP assistance will contribute to Viet Nam’s achievement of the MDG 6 “Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.”
UNDP has supported enhancing the management and coordination capacity of many Government ministries and organizations and to develop and implement community-based information, education and communication (IEC) programmes and activities to promote behavioural change. Recently, UNDP has supported the development of Viet Nam's first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy and other key policy documents.
In order to promote legal framework to protect the rights of PLWHA, UNDP jointly with ILO supported a study on Reduction of HIV/AIDS related employment discrimination in Viet Nam. To respond to HIV/AIDS as a development issue and better understand the impact of HIV/AIDS at micro-level, UNDP with the support of AusAID recently conducted a case study on Impact of HIV/AIDS on household vulnerability and poverty.
UNDP has also joined the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) to strengthen Vietnamese leadership at all levels to increase collaboration in HIV/AIDS prevention and control. These efforts are designed to contribute to the successful implementation of the national HIV/AIDS Strategy.