Although Vietnam’s HIV epidemic is still in a concentrated phase, it is one of the Asian countries with a rapidly growing HIV epidemic. The populations most at risk in Vietnam include injecting drug users (IDU), female sex workers (FSW), and men who have sex with men (MSM). While prevalence in the general population is estimated at less than 1%, it is much higher in specific groups, with an estimated 28% of IDUs, 4.4% of FSW and 9% of MSM being infected. Since 2002, Global Medic Force (previously ICEHA) has been implementing HIV and infectious diseases healthcare capacity building programs in the highland provinces in Vietnam that are populated by ethnic minorities and facing some of the highest rates of HIV in the country. The program is conducted in close collaboration with the Highland Education Development Organization (HEDO), an indigenous Vietnamese NGO. To date, more than 1000 healthcare providers have attended one of the 16 three-day seminars that have been held in 8 northern provinces of Vietnam. As a result of the training, the attitudes of healthcare providers regarding HIV infected patients have improved, prevention messages are being delivered to the population, the incidence of unsafe medical practices has decreased, and HIV care has been greatly enhanced. At the conclusion of the workshops, local physicians have remarked that they have been given “tools that they could apply in their clinics immediately- the next day – and how they are not scared of an AIDS patient any longer.” The government has requested this project to expand into 12 additional provinces, training 1,000-1,500 more healthcare workers and affecting the lives of millions living in these provinces. Please help us meet this goal by supporting this project – as you know, just $200 can train one health worker to provide healthcare for a population of 5,000 people.
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