Vietnamese Government Issues Decree Allowing Punishment for HIV-Related Discrimination
April 26, 2005
The Vietnamese government on Monday announced it has passed a decree to allow the punishment of people who discriminate against HIV-positive individuals in the country, AFP/Yahoo! News reports. The decree -- which was issued on April 6 by Prime Minister Phan Van Khai -- allows the government to fine anyone who publicizes test results, names, addresses or photographs of HIV-positive people without their consent, as well as employers who fire HIV-positive employees or school employees that dismiss HIV-positive students. However, the decree does not specify the amount someone could be fined for such discrimination. Vietnam has been criticized for "tolerating the stigmatization" of HIV/AIDS patients, and U.N. agencies have "complained" that HIV-positive people face employment discrimination and other barriers to equality in the country, according to AFP/Yahoo! News (AFP/Yahoo! News, 4/25). The country's national HIV/AIDS strategy aims to reduce HIV prevalence, increase awareness about the disease, and change attitudes and behaviors toward the epidemic among the general population and policymakers. The government last week announced that in June it will begin a five-year, $38.5 million HIV/AIDS prevention program aimed at keeping HIV prevalence in the country below 0.3%, as part of a $35 million grant from the World Bank. According to Vietnam's Ministry of Health, approximately 245,000 people in the country were HIV-positive at the end of 2003, but international health experts have said that the number could increase to more than one million by 2010 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/22).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.