US finances loans for HIV patients, caregivers

People living with HIV and caregivers of orphans and vulnerable children will receive loans to start small businesses under a US government program launched December 17.

In total, 750 Vietnamese, many of whom are women who support at least five other family members, will benefit from the program being implemented by the US President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

750 Vietnamese, many of whom are women, will benefit from the program being implemented by the US President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)

Seven provinces and cities will be targeted including northern Quang Ninh, Hai Phong, and Ha Noi; the central province of Nghe An; the Mekong delta provinces of Can Tho, and An Giang; and Ho Chi Minh City.

Each loan recipient will receive an average of US$450 over the next 12 months, for a total of US$300,000 provided by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) under PEPFAR. 

The program, implemented by Vietnam’s Women’s Union with management support from UNAIDS, will provide training on small business management and related skills.

A loan will be considered successful if at least 40 percent is repaid in the first year and at least 80 percent is repaid after three years.

Food security indicators and an assessment tool will be developed and used to assess food insecurity and refer potential beneficiaries for loan consideration. Loan beneficiaries will also be accepted from local Women’s Unions and People Living with HIV self-help groups.

Before receiving the loan, beneficiaries will work with project staff to develop feasible business plans, which include a timeline for re-paying all funds within three years. USAID funding will be used as a revolving fund to reach more beneficiaries in the coming years.

By Khanh Thy

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