Civil society has participated in the response to HIV from the early days of the HIV epidemic in Viet Nam. The growth of HIV civil society has been significant in recent years. The Viet Nam Network of People Living with HIV (VNP+) was established in 200,8 and by 2015 has expanded to represent more than 130 self-help groups of PLHIV all over the country. The Viet Nam Network of Sex Workers (VNSW) and the Viet Nam Network of People Who Use Drugs (VNPUD) were established with 10 and 20 member groups respectively in 2012; by the end of 2013, VNPUD had 56 members and VNSW had 12 members. When the Viet Nam Network of MSM and Transgender (VNMSM/TG) was launched in July 2013, 91 groups country-wide registered immediately.
The HIV civil society response has not only grown in quantity but also in its capacity to be equal and effective partners of the national response. Viet Nam Union of Scientific and Technology Associations (VUSTA) – the official civil society umbrella organization– became a National Committee member in 2012, and policy dialogues between the National Committee leaders and civil society representatives have been held to discuss key issues of the national response such as the sustainability of HIV civil society organizations and their greater role in HIV service provision.
Viet Nam has achieved lower-middle-income country status following strong economic growth and a determined effort to achieve the MDGs. As a result, donors have begun to reduce direct development assistance and are increasingly focusing on providing technical assistance to nationally-owned and -managed HIV services.
Development partners coordinate their support to the national response to HIV through an informal forum “Development Partner Group” convened by UNAIDS.