As part of the framework of the “USAID Enhanced Community HIV Link – Northern” project, the Center for Community Health Research and Development (CCRD) collaborated with Vietnam Administration of HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC) and PEPFAR coordination office to organize two writing camps: “Contributions of CBOs in HIV/AIDS prevention program” in Nghe An (from 4th to 6th, 2017) and Dien Bien provinces (October 11th to 13th, 2017). The writing camps were attended by nearly 50 participants who are reporters of Central newspaper as well as correspondents and reporters in Nghe An, Thanh Hoa, Ha Tinh, Dien Bien, Lai Chau, and Son La provinces.
The main purpose of this initiative was to provide information and knowledge about HIV/AIDS, especially the contribution of local non-government organizations and community-based organizations (CBOs) to the success of HIV/AIDS prevention programs. Through this program, newspaper and television reporters had the opportunity to meet, exchange ideas and share experiences with each other and to come up with new ideas about HIV/AIDS press work.
Over the three-day camp, reporters explored and learned a lot about regulations relating to providing news, specifically in terms of reflecting on HIV/AIDS, journalism ethics and requirements regarding HIV/AIDS issues, government policies on harm reduction interventions to prevent HIV transmission, knowledge of gender and sexuality, impact of stigma and discrimination on people living with HIV/AIDS as well as the role of journalism in combating stigma and discrimination. New aspects and ideas about telling HIV/AIDS stories were exchanged and shared by reporters to look for the most effective communication method. In addition, participants were updated on the status of HIV/AIDS epidemic in both Vietnam and the world and communication was emphasized as critically important for HIV/AIDS prevention. Furthermore, during field trips, participants learned about HIV/AIDS prevention program at the grass-root level, particularly activities of CBOs and contribution of CBOs in Vinh city, Quy Hop and Thanh Chuong districts in Nghe An province, Tuan Giao district and Dien Bien Phu city in Dien Bien province.