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Tackling HIV/AIDS Related Stigma and Discrimination in Vietnam: 

Tackling HIV/AIDS Related Stigma and Discrimination in Vietnam LESSONS LEARNED FROM RESEARCH, ADVOCACY AND INTERVENTION Khuat Thu Hong Institute for Social Development Studies

HIV Epidemic in Vietnam: 

HIV Epidemic in Vietnam Infection rate: 0.44 – 1.2% among adults aged 15-49 years (MOH, 2005) 52% of all reported cases among Injecting Drug Users (IDUs) (MOH, May 2006) Stigma and discrimination is severe


Collaborators Institute for Social Development Studies (ISDS) and International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) Partnering with Central Commission for Ideology and Culture (CCIC) of the Communist Party of Vietnam Funding First Phase: USAID/Change Project(AED)/ICRW and GlaxoSmithKline’s Positive Action Programme Second Phase: USAID/PACT

Project Components and Activities: 

Project Components and Activities Research Adapting Anti-stigma toolkit Sensitizing policy makers Advocacy through media and IEC activities Policy formulation and dissemination Community intervention

2003 Research: Key Findings: 

2003 Research: Key Findings HIV-related stigma is manifested in various forms and prevalent in different settings All PLHAs are stigmatized, especially IDUs and CSWs

Key Findings (cont.): 

Key Findings (cont.) Stigma stems from 3 inter-related issues: Fear of casual transmission Link of HIV to “social evils” (e.g. drug use and prostitution) Perpetuation of misinformation about HIV and negative images of PLHA through media and IEC campaigns

Adapted Anti-Stigma Toolkit: 

Adapted Anti-Stigma Toolkit “Understanding and Challenging HIV Stigma: Toolkit for Action” Modifying various modules Adding new modules Using information, case studies, stories from Vietnam

Sensitizing policy makers and media: 

Sensitizing policy makers and media In 2004: using adapted toolkit Organized 2 sensitizing workshops with staff of IC Department of 29 provinces and cities National workshop with CCIC and key governmental and party agencies

Advocacy through Media: 

Advocacy through Media Sensitization workshop with national media using toolkit Provided research findings and information Supported and collaborated with media to develop: Anti-stigma programs in VTV and Voice of Vietnam Newspaper articles on stigma and discrimination Facilitated contact with PLHAs and other experts in HIV/AIDS and stigma and discrimination

IEC Activities: Advocacy for Positive Images of PLHA: 

IEC Activities: Advocacy for Positive Images of PLHA In 2004, organized exhibition of paintings of two artists living with HIV In 2005, organized an exhibition of photos on PLHAs with positive living

Developing and Disseminating IEC Materials: 

Developing and Disseminating IEC Materials 2004 2005

Policy Formulation and Dissemination: 

Policy Formulation and Dissemination Assisting policy makers (CCIC) in development of national anti-stigma guidelines for media and IEC activities Disseminating guidelines, September 2006

Community Interventions : 

Community Interventions Sensitizing workshops in two provinces and two communes Conducting TOT on anti-stigma toolkit for key officials of provincial party agencies Developing and implementing anti-stigma program in the two communes Targeted Program Evaluation of Commune Program

Lessons Learned: 

Lessons Learned Stigma-Reduction is Possible

Lesson Learned 1: Open the Gate: 

Lesson Learned 1: Open the Gate Involve policy makers from the beginning Create the feeling of ownership among policy makers Work closely with policy makers, build capacity

Lesson Learned 2: Target the Media: 

Lesson Learned 2: Target the Media In collaboration with policy makers: Sensitize media on issues of stigma and discrimination Support media in development of media programs and reporting Provide media access to information and contacts among PLHA and experts

Lesson Learned 3: Use Effective Tools and Methods: 

Lesson Learned 3: Use Effective Tools and Methods Adopt participatory approach Apply Anti-stigma Toolkit Diversify IEC activities: TV, radio, newspapers, art exhibitions, print materials Use of positive images of PLHA

Lesson Learned 4: Involve and empower PLHA: 

Lesson Learned 4: Involve and empower PLHA Sensitize PLHA to self-stigma and provide support to overcome Support PLHA in volunteering their stories for media, peer education and community activities Create and identify opportunities for PLHAs to work with different organizations on HIV/AIDS

Lesson Learned 5 & 6 Skills Are Not Built Overnight Stigma Reduction Takes Time: 

Lesson Learned 5 & 6 Skills Are Not Built Overnight Stigma Reduction Takes Time Include follow up activities and refresher training after TOT Select TOT participants from intervention communes Stigma is deeply rooted: need sustained programs over time

Challenges & Next Steps: 

Challenges & Next Steps Scaling up lessons learned to national level Integration of stigma-reduction into all HIV/AIDS efforts Maintaining community, government and donor interest for sustained effort over time Ensuring evaluation of programming Sharing knowledge with others with similar epidemic Understanding and addressing together gender, stigma and violence Layered stigma (IDU and CSW) Female partners of IDU