Thang Long - Hanoi

Project helps 1,400 people with AIDS gain employment
21/06/2013 | 10:58:42
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More than 1,400 people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS have been able to find a job or run their own businesses with support from a five year US Government-funded programme.

The figure was disclosed at a June 20 ceremony to mark the programme’s end known as the US Agency for International Development (USAID) HIV workplace project.

Speaking at the event, USAID director in Vietnam Joakim Parker said despite impressive progress, Vietnam is still likely to miss the Millennium Development Goal target of reversing the epidemic.

“There is a lot of work to be done,” Parker said. “People living with HIV/AIDS have to battle terrible social stigma associated with the infection. In far too many cases, family support withers, marriages dissolve and jobs are lost once a person’s HIV status is known.”

Started in 2008, the 3 million USD project has expanded workplace-based HIV prevention activities to 118 enterprises in eight provinces and cities with more than 100,000 people trained in HIV prevention.

Besides job placement support and training, people living with HIV also received more than 100,000 USD in loans through Vietnamese micro-finance providers.

Le Duc Hien, deputy director of the Labour Ministry’s department for prevention of social evils, said the international support for HIV/AIDS prevention is expected to dwindle.

“The country needs to further develop effective policies that could make the work of international partners sustainable after they left,” he stressed.

“From experience, we know that it’s not enough to give a loan of 20 million VND and let the receiver take all the risks. It’s necessary to guide and train them how to use that money effectively,” he said.

According to Hien, the department is working on a national programme to support people living with HIV/AIDS to find employment and increase their access to small loans. It’s expected to go for Government approval this year.-VNA
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