Ha Noi Raised Public Awareness on “Getting to Zero New HIV Infections”

PHOTO MISSION UNAIDSAn all-day public event in response to the “Getting to Zero New HIV Infections” National Action Month and the UNAIDS global campaign “Be an activist – Make it happen” took place in Ha Noi on 27 November. More than 1000 college students and members of self-help groups of people living with HIV and people at higher risk of HIV infections participated in the event and helped raise public awareness on HIV prevention and stigma reduction.

A series of activities during the day were organized around HIV knowledge dissemination that also contribute to reducing stigma and discriminatin related to HIV. These include, in the morning, the performance by primary school students of short plays on reducing stigma against children living with HIV in schools, Dance4Life performance by college students, and the launch of the HIV petition signing in support of the global campaign.

In the afternoon, there were quizzes on HIV knowledge to test event participants’ understandings on HIV and educate those who did not know how to protect themselves and their loved ones from HIV. Results of the second Survey Assessment of Vietnamese Youth (SAVY II) released in 2010 show nearly one in every three university students does not have good knowledge of HIV transmission ways, and less than 50% of young people aged 15-24 can both correctly identify ways of preventing the transmission of HIV through sexual intercourse and reject major misconceptions about HIV transmission. It is very important for every Vietnamese especially the youth to have accurate knowledge on how to prevent HIV transmission if Viet Nam is to achieve Zero new HIV infections as the Government has prioritized for this year’s national action month on AIDS.

In the evening, participants had opportunities to enjoy HIV-themed art performance by people living with HIV and people at higher risk of infection. They were also able to enhance their message composition skills through interacting with performance groups, finding out their messages and get themselves ready to enter the global messaging competition. Selected entries to this competition will be used to stage an exhibition at the International AIDS Conference next year in Washington DC in June 2012.

The event was co-organized by the Hanoi’s AIDS Centre, Hanoi’s AIDS Association and Viet Nam Red Cross Federation, with financial and technical support from UNAIDS, the American Red Cross and the International Red Cross and Crescent Societies.

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