Building the capacity of HIV community leaders

Article by the Vietnam Network of People living with HIV (VNP+)

[Photo 3] VNP+.jpg

For any organization,capacity building of members is extremely important. In particular, for organizations of people living with HIV(PLHIV), capacity building that includesHIV knowledge will have a wider and positive impact on their work. Duringmy more than 13 years of fighting against HIV in Vietnam, I realize that the opportunities to improve the capacity onHIV knowledgeinvolvingthe PLHIV community leaders,were limited. Particularly in the last 3 years, there have been few, orno,courses on HIV where thePLHIV community couldparticipate. In April20, with the support of Gilead, VNP+ successfully invited 20 PLHIV community leaders to attend the Training of Trainer (ToT)course to equip them withknowledge onpreventiontreatmentsand HIV viral load,and build a group of peer-educators in the PLHIV communitythatactively works withinour network under the Rainbow Grant project.

The training contents piqued the interest and encouraged participantsto actively participate. Moreover, the training helped attendees learn how totransform professional knowledgeattainedinto community languageswith simpleand understandable information that is shareable with the group and their communities.Onthe followingMay 17, with the support of Gilead, VNP+, the Ho Chi Minh City Provincial AIDS Center and CDC Vietnam, hosted a community forum on translating U=U (in Vietnamese K=K) into action throughHIV testing, treatment,prevention methodsand treatment retention for viral suppression and stigma reduction. Initially, 500 participants were expected,however,over 700 participants showed up fora lively discussion on the science behind K=K,and its significance for the community. Community leaders and health providers also shared stories on how K=K influences both HIV-positive and HIV-negative individuals,and the broader community.

This strengthens thedialogue and partnership to ensure that community groups will amplify the K=Kmessage, and the importance of health insuranceand preventive methods to limitthe rise of HIV cases in Vietnam.For us, at VNP+,this positive start is a good step to boost our motivation and creativity while we continueto implement more planned activities that canhelp stop the spread of HIV in Vietnam.