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Ngan tested HIV positive at a routine antenatal check-up during her first pregnancy five years ago. Thanks to the early discovery of her HIV status, she received antiretroviral therapy during the first quarter of her pregnancy. Huy, Ngan’s son, was born a healthy boy free of HIV in October 2004.

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Ngan is expecting her second baby. She visits the Tay Ho Day Care Centre for an antenatal check to make sure that everything is okay with the baby she carries. Her doctor tells her that she is in good health and that the baby is now 450 grams.

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Ngan is an active member of the White Dove Club, a self-help group of people living with HIV covering the southern district of Thanh Xuan. She is also a regular collaborator of UNAIDS and many local NGOs in co-facilitating training courses and outreach programs on HIV as well as in providing HIV counseling services.

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Not all HIV-positive women who want to become mothers can afford to get comprehensive care for both mother and child before, during and after delivery like Ngan. These services are only available in big cities. Better equipped obstetric facilities with staff knowledgeable on HIV and prevention of mother-to-child-transmission (PMTCT) are much needed at the provincial level. Without PMTCT services, the chances of passing HIV to the baby are 30–40%. With the provision of comprehensive prevention services, the transmission rate can be reduced to less than 2%.

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As the sun sets over Hanoi, Ngan picks Huy up from the kindergarten,

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and they often play for a while in the playground before making their way home on the bustling streets of the city.

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Helping each other out after a long day, Ngan and her husband Quang cook together in their small house in the Thanh Xuan District. They have regained the acceptance of their neighbours because people appreciate that they lead a healthy life. Ngan’s parents-in-law, whose other two sons died from drug use, are proud of their eldest son for the support and care he shows his family.

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Father and son play together after dinner, but the evening is not ending yet for husband and wife. Every night Ngan visits locations frequented by injecting drug users in the area.

Green One UN House, 304 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Ha Noi, Viet Nam