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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

HealthRight Greets U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Viet Nam

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton meets with children at
HealthRight's Smile of the Sun
Center in Hanoi

HANOI, VIETNAM On July 22, a HealthRight International project site hosted U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the signing of the U.S. – Vietnam Partnership Framework. The Partnership Framework outlines a five year joint strategic framework for cooperation between the U.S. Government, the Vietnamese Government and other partners to combat HIV/AIDS through service delivery, policy reforms and coordinated financial commitments.

Click here to see photos from Secretary Clinton's visit.

HealthRight is a key partner in the effort to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS in Vietnam and ensure those infected have access to care and protection from discrimination. The Partnership Framework will be signed at the Smile of the Sun Center, a community center established by HealthRight, the Ha Noi Women’s Union, Bright Futures Network, and Ngoc Lam Pagoda, which serves as a model for providing support and advocacy services for children and families living with HIV.

Commenting on HealthRight's US government-supported program in Vietnam, Secretary Clinton said, "What we see here is the kind of comprehensive response that this disease demands."

Click here to read the full text of Secretary Clinton's speech.

Vietnam not only faces a growing HIV epidemic; stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV is pervasive within the health system and within many communities. Children are particularly vulnerable, and face routine exclusion from school, health care and even normal recreational activities with their peers. In addition, many families find it difficult to earn even a basic living, furthering negative pressure on their children’s health and social situation.

“The Smile of the Sun Center makes it possible for children with HIV or whose parents are infected to have some time to just be kids. It gives their caregivers a chance to get some help themselves, too. Efforts like this to reduce the stigma faced by people with HIV are the only way to ensure the spread of the epidemic is slowed and those infected get treatment,” said Mila Rosenthal, HealthRight Executive Director, who is attending the signing of the Partnership Framework. “That’s why this US government support is so important. By saying that the US government will help Vietnam develop and fund solutions, Secretary Clinton is giving hope to the hundreds of thousands of people in Vietnam facing HIV.”

HealthRight and its partners, including the Ha Noi Women’s Union and the Bright Futures Network, are advocating within the health system to provide access to health and social services for people living with HIV, and within communities to combat stigma and discrimination, especially against children. The program is made possible through the support of Pact Vietnam with funding from USAID through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

The Smile of the Sun Center is a model community center providing support and advocacy for children and families living with HIV/AIDS. Two Smile of the Sun Centers in Hanoi provide a range of services, including counseling, tutoring, nutritious meals and referral for support services in a confidential environment. The Centers provide children with an opportunity to learn and play in a safe, respectful environment, where they can be free from discrimination and abuse.

HealthRight International is a global organization based in the US with offices in Vietnam, Nepal, Russia, Ukraine and Kenya working to build lasting access to health for excluded communities.

To learn more, please visit www.healthright.org.

Fact Sheet: HIV in Vietnam