'Many people know the law, but also many people violate it': discrimination experienced by people living with HIV/AIDS in Vietnam—results of a national study

Lisa J Messersmith, Katherine Semrau, Theodore M Hammett, Nguyen Tuan Phong, Nguyen Duy Tung, Ha Nguyen, Douglas Glandon, Nguyen Mai Huong, Hoang Tu Anh
Global Public Health 2013, 8: S30-45
In Vietnam, discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) is defined within and prohibited by the 2007 national HIV/AIDS law. Despite the law, PLHIV face discrimination in health care, employment, education and other spheres. This study presents the first national estimates of the levels and types of discrimination that are defined in Vietnamese law and experienced by PLHIV in Vietnam. A nationally representative sample of 1200 PLHIV was surveyed, and 129 PLHIV participated in focus group discussions (FGDs). In the last 12 months, nearly half of the survey population experienced at least one form of discrimination and many experienced up to six different types of discrimination. The most common forms of discrimination included disclosure of HIV status without consent; denial of access to education for children; loss of employment; advice, primarily from health care providers, to abstain from sex; and physical and emotional harm. In logistic regression analysis, the experience of discrimination differed by gender, region of residence and membership status in a PLHIV support group. The logistic regression and FGD results indicate that disclosure of HIV status without consent was associated with experiencing other forms of discrimination. Key programme and policy recommendations are discussed.

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