The first museum exhibition about HIV epidemic

(CPV) – The first case of HIV was reported in Vietnam more than 20 years ago. Since then, there have been many changes in what is known about the virus, in our ability to treat the disease, and in individual and community attitudes and behaviours towards people living with HIV.

One of the base of the cooperative research and object collecting between the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology and the Center for Community Health Research and Development, the exhibition entitled “Pain and Hope” is created to describe the emotional journey of HIV positive people from the first realization that they are infected and during the time their lives with other people. Their stories and the stories of their families, friends, and communities are the core of the exhibition.

* Graceful hearts

The promulgation of the HIV/AIDS Prevention Law in 2006 declared the Vietnamese government’s declaration o­n the response to HIV epidemic. The network of centers for AIDS control in many provinces and cities have been established. A variety of civic and religious groups, including organizations of people living with HIV, have become active in HIV prevention. People living with HIV have formed clubs and health promotion teams have been established in many localities where they actively participate in the prevention of HIV in the larger communities.

Free and voluntary HIV test and counseling centers have been come into operation in Vietnam since 2002. There are now almost 300 of such centers in 63 provinces and cities. These centers provide people who concern HIV epidemic with HIV infection ways and preventive measures. They also give HIV test completely free for people who need it.

* Will to live

Thanks to the discovery of drugs to inhibit the HIV virus’s multiplication in the body and proper treatment regiments, people living with HIV are long longer. With social report, they integrate many HIV positive people, the desired to be loved, to receive care, to have life partners, to get married and have children, to go to school and to have jobs is a desire that can be realized.

* Challenges and hopes

In HIV prevention work, there remain such challenges as drug resistant risk and treatment failure, limited financial resource for treatment and prevention, limited access to treatment and prevention services among people living with HIV in rural and remote areas, and HIV and related behaviours are still stigmatized and event judged by the society.

However, every people living with HIV and Vietnamese society as a whole remain hopeful about the future that lies ahead. Government agencies, non-government organizations, and individuals working in HIV prevention believe that their work will minimize the spread of this disease and assure better treatment for people living with HIV.