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Helping women living with HIV claim their rights

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"Women widowed by AIDS or living with HIV may face property disputes with in-laws, complicated by limited access to justice to uphold their rights. Regardless of whether they themselves are living with HIV, women generally assume a disproportionate burden of care for others who are sick from or dying of AIDS, along with the orphans left behind. This, in turn, can reduce prospects for education and employment. Acknowledging these facts, training aimed to help women living with HIV to analyze their situations from gendered and rights-based perspectives as well as enable them to challenge discrimination against them and their children with strategic advocacy plans," Canadian Ambassador to Viet Nam, David Devine.

A significant proportion of new infections in Viet Nam are through intimate partner transmissions.

Intimate partner transmission is a major source of HIV infections among women in the country. More than half of women who tested positive at HIV testing and counselling sites between 2006 and 2010 reported their only possible exposure to HIV was through a husband or long-term partner.

To help address this challenge, over the past two years the UN has helped to empower women living with HIV to understand their rights and meaningfully engage in policy advocacy and decision-making processes to reduce stigma and discrimination and increase access to services.

Since 2014, UN Women and UNAIDS have jointly supported the network of women living with HIV in Viet Nam (VNW+) to enhance their capacities to know and claim their rights under the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). In particular, the project has seized opportunities that emerged from the periodic reporting mechanism of CEDAW.

Viet Nam was called for review for its combined seventh and eighth State party reports in July 2015 and for the first time, VNW+ participated in this process and jointly drafted the shadow report with 20 other civil society organizations. The report was submitted to the CEDAW Committee in June 2015 and resulted in a specific recommendation on the situation of women living with HIV (WLHIV) in the Committee's Concluding Observations. VNW+ is now taking part in the process to implement the Committee's recommendations in collaboration with the government and other CSOs.

Although the shadow report was not specifically devoted to issues relevant for women living with HIV, representation of women from a broad range of groups with a diversity of perspectives made the CSO networks more credible and powerful in presenting an alternative perspective from the national report. The drafting process of the report reached out to under-represented women's groups including WLHIV, women with disability, ethnic minority women, young women, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities to ensure an inclusive process reflecting the diverse perspectives and experiences of different groups of women. The findings and recommendations of the shadow report as well as CEDAW Concluding Observations were used to inform the rapid gender assessment jointly conducted by UN Women and the Viet Nam Authority of AIDS Control, Ministry of Health with technical support from UNAIDS.

Although they had relationships with provincial authorities, before joining the shadow report development, VNW+ only had limited opportunities and capacity to participate in national dialogues UN support to the network has helped scale up their policy advocacy through advocacy capacity building and convening government-civil society dialogues to facilitate participation in the policy and law making process. In fact, with UN's strong support, VNW+ was empowered to develop their advocacy plan and advocate for their legitimate rights. They also participated in generating strategic information for evidence-based advocacy to claim their rights.

Spotlight

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WORLD AIDS DAY MESSAGE 2017

1 December 2017

Michel Sidibé
Executive Director of UNAIDS
Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations

This World AIDS Day, we are highlighting the importance of the right to health and the challenges that people living with and affected by HIV face in fulfilling that right.


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Community spaces design contest for an exciting hanoi

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Deadline for round 1: From 17/10/2017 to 04/11/2017 Extended to 9 November 2017


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Harsh punishment for child offenders doesn’t prevent further criminality

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New Year Greetings from the United Nations Resident Coordinator a.i. in Viet Nam

 

On the occasion of New Year 2017, on behalf of the United Nations family in Viet Nam I wish to reiterate our appreciation and express our warmest wishes to our partners and friends throughout the country. We wish our partners and their families in Viet Nam peace, prosperity, good health and happiness in the coming year.

As we enter the second year of the Sustainable Development Goals era, we look forward to continuing our close cooperation for the sake of Viet Nam’s future development; one which is inclusive, equitable and sustainable, with no one left behind.

Youssouf Abdel-Jelil
United Nations Resident Coordinator a.i. in Viet Nam


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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for World AIDS Day, observed on 1 December

 

Thirty-five years since the emergence of AIDS, the international community can look back with some pride.  But we must also look ahead with resolve and commitment to reach our goal of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

There has been real progress in tackling the disease. More people than ever are on treatment.  Since 2010, the number of children infected through mother to child transmission has dropped by half. Fewer people die of AIDS related causes each year.  And people living with HIV are living longer lives.

The number of people with access to life-saving medicines has doubled over the past five years, now topping 18 million. With the right investments, the world can get on the fast-track to achieve our target of 30 million people on treatment by 2030.  Access to HIV medicines to prevent mother to child transmission is now available to more than 75 per cent of those in need.