Vietnam: Expanding and Improving the Quality of HIV/AIDS Services (August 2006)

"At Binh Thanh Out Patient Clinic, I was greeted and treated as a patient who needed help. The nurse, doctor and even the cleaner provided me with necessary services, listened to and answered my queries, and eased my worries. I faced no stigma and discrimination at the [clinic]. I was treated with opportunistic infection drugs, and later on, I was provided free antiretroviral treatment following adherence training. Now, I feel better. My CD4 count is normal, and I was selected to be a volunteer to assist new patients. I also work for the Misa Club providing outreach and support for those in Go Vap District." - Binh Thanh Client, 2006

In 2005, there were an estimated 260,000 adults and children living with HIV/AIDS in Vietnam.1 In Ho Chi Minh City, the country's largest urban center, care services and other hospital resources for people living with HIV/AIDS are limited, and the demand far exceeds the capacity of the city's hospitals. To address this problem, the Ho Chi Minh City Provincial AIDS Committee has encouraged city districts to develop out-patient clinic and care centers. With support from the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (Emergency Plan/PEPFAR), the local health department opened an HIV clinic in Binh Thanh, one of the largest districts in the city.

The Binh Thanh Clinic, which opened in 2005, offers medical care; counseling and referral to social support services by case managers; peer support for people living with HIV/AIDS; and links with home-based care services in the communities surrounding the clinic. Family Health International worked with the clinic to initiate antiretroviral treatment services in September 2005. The clinic is staffed by HIV-positive and negative health care service providers, social workers and volunteers. Demand for care services is high. In the clinic's first month, more than 150 adults and children living with HIV/AIDS received services.

1 UNAIDS, Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic, 2006.

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