Date of Award

January 2014

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Robert Heimer

Second Advisor

Lauretta E. Grau


Background & Objective: To address the HIV epidemic in Vietnam, groups of former drug users and sex workers established grassroots organizations throughout Vietnam in the early 2000s, called community-based organizations (CBOs). The objectives of this study are to understand the purpose of the CBOs, the government-CBO interactions, the perceived stigma toward drugs users and sex workers, and the attitudes of government officials about the purpose of the CBOs. Thereafter, we aspire to recommend changes to promote collaboration between the CBOs and the government programs. Methods: Thirty-two individuals from the drug user and sex worker CBOs and relevant government programs participated in face-to-face interviews in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Hai Phong. Results: CBOs provided various forms of support and services to help improve the quality of their members' lives. Governmental field staff interacted with CBOs more frequently than did high-level officials by providing CBOs with technical and legal support. CBOs referred eligible injecting members to apply to methadone clinics for drug addiction treatment. Barriers to government-CBO collaboration were found in the methadone clinic operations, government actions, and CBOs' lack of legal status. Recommendations: Patient enrollment into the methadone maintenance treatment programs need to be monitored by a third party to prevent corruption. To reach as many vulnerable people at risk of HIV infection as possible, government officials are encouraged to collaborate with the CBOs to effectively communicate methods of HIV prevention with the target population. Additionally, the CBOs are recommended to further help their members interact with society by inviting more community individuals to participate in their regular education workshop at the CBO offices.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access