Buddhist pagodas help to combat, prevent HIV/AIDS

The implementation of the Buddhist Leadership Initiative on preventing and combating HIV/AIDS at pagodas in Ha Noi and HCM City was reviewed at a conference in HCM City yesterday.

Orphans, many are childrene living with HIV, are raising at a charity centre of the Ky Quang 2 pagoda in HCM City. Pagodas in the localities where the programme operates have also increased awareness-raising campaigns among people living with HIV/AIDS and popularised preventive measures. — VNA/VNS Photo An Hieu

The programme began in 2002 with a view to reducing the discrimination against people living with the HIV/AIDS, especially children, while increasing community-based support for families having HIV/AIDS affected members.

The project has been operating in HCM City, Ha Noi, Thua Thien-Hue, Da Nang and Tra Vinh.

Head of the VFF Central Committee's Department of Religious Affairs Nguyen Van Thanh said the project had helped thousands of HIV-infected people access community-based assistance services.

Pagodas in the localities where the programme operates have also increased awareness-raising campaigns among people living with HIV/AIDS and popularised preventive measures.

Those such as Phap Van, Bo De (Ha Noi); Ky Quang, Dieu Giac, Linh Son, Quang Tho (HCM City) have established a network of volunteers to help HIV-infected people.

Le Hong Loan, a UNICEF representative, said the engagement of Buddhist associations in HIV/AIDS prevention had been significant in mitigating the impact of HIV/AIDS in Viet Nam.

During the conference, participants also discussed effective measures to seek financial resources for the expansion of the project.

The Buddhist leadership Initiative is a co-operative programme between the United Nations' Children Fund (UNICEF) and five Asian governments to promote the role played by religious leaders in their community's response to HIV prevention.

Vietnamnews

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