HIV prevention model for factory workers sees positive results

December, 08/2022 - 15:48
More than 15,000 factory workers at high risk of HIV infection have access to HIV prevention and treatment services through an HIV prevention intervention model called SAFE-ZONE, according to the Vietnam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC).
SAFE-ZONE, a HIV prevention intervention model for factory workers initiated by LIFE, is being piloted in HCM City and Đồng Nai Province. — Photo courtesy of LIFE

HCM CITY — More than 15,000 factory workers at high risk of HIV infection have access to HIV prevention and treatment services through an HIV prevention intervention model called SAFE-ZONE, according to the Vietnam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC).

Speaking at a recent workshop held in HCM City, Nguyễn Thị Minh Tâm, head of VAAC’s Department of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control, said the model is being piloted at four factories in HCM City and Đồng Nai Province and has seen positive results.

It has provided HIV testing and counseling services for 350 workers, connected more than 60 cases with pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) drugs, and transferred 11 cases to ARV to receive anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment at health facilities.

“The results showed the effectiveness of this model. The model’s implementation steps are very clear and easy to measure and apply,” she said.

So any locality that has many industrial parks and factories with a network of community-based organisations providing available HIV/AIDS services can consider conducting this model, she said.

The model is an initiative of the Centre for Promotion of Quality of Life (LIFE) and community-based organisations (CBOs), contributing to helping the healthcare sector to achieve the national goal of ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030.

Nguyễn Nguyên Như Trang, director of LIFE, said this model was built in the context of increasing the number of HIV infection cases detected among factory workers.

The model updates and provides the factory workers information and knowledge about sexual health, HIV prevention, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). It also helps connect them to private HIV testing and treatment services provided by CBOs, she said.

The following is the model’s five-step implementation:

Step 1: Contact the factory

Actively contact to ask for a meeting with representatives of the factory in the area identified by health authorities with an increasing number of HIV infections.

The purpose of the meeting is to present the HIV situation in the locality, identify needs, agree on a cooperation method and develop a communication plan on HIV prevention and treatment services for factory workers.

Step 2: Survey workers in the factory

Conduct a survey on knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) about HIV and other STDs among factory workers to design appropriate communication programmes.

Step 3: 'Passive' Communication

Implement passive communication programmes such as putting up posters, providing leaflets with QR codes, posting articles on the factory's information page and Zalo group, and make media products that attract workers' attention on YouTube and Tiktok.

Step 4: Active communication

Coordinate with the factory to implement on-site communication programmes to attract the direct participation of workers such as events, seminars and creative worker contests. These activities are carried out in a dynamic style, combined with distribution of items such as condoms, lube and self-testing products.

Introduce to the workers “CBO Around U” page to connect with CBOs, and the D-Health app to proactively contact the nearest CBO.

Step 5: Consult, test and transfer

CBOs or the community one-stop-shop health service (DOME) stores will actively contact or receive information directly from customers through the website, phone or via the D-Health app to provide screening tests and consulting, and connect the customers to appropriate health facilities.

Since 2008, LIFE has conducted a programme to improve the quality of life for factory workers in 34 provinces and cities nationwide.

The programme has supported 300,000 workers in 150 factories with issues relating to protecting legitimate rights, providing workplace safety and better health care, gender equality, improving skills for financial management, and personal development. — VNS

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