Vietnam makes remarkable progress in HIV/AIDS control

On ‘World AIDS Day’, held annually on December 1, UNAIDS hailed Vietnam for its achievements in prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and called for more investment in HIV control in order to reach national and international targets.

Kristan Schoultz, Country Director of UNAIDS in Vietnam, stressed that the Southeast Asian nation has made remarkable progress in HIV/AIDS control but still faces many challenges. The country is currently seeking new approaches to engage needy people in HIV services.

Vietnam has deployed initiatives to maximize the efficiency of resources for HIV/AIDS prevention as well as initiatives for HIV diagnosis and treatment at an early stage; accordingly, the fatal disease transmission has slowed down.

The World Health Organization has encouraged Vietnam to step up prevention services including HIV testing, risk-reduction counseling and treatment to high risk groups of people.

According to medical experts, although the numbers of HIV-infected people and fatalities have gone down, the number of HIV infections in high risk groups of people in many provinces remains at an alarmingly high rate.

It is estimated that male drug users account for 11 percent and over half of those are HIV infected people in few major cities.

The average number of HIV infections among female prostitutes was estimated at 27 percent in the country. In addition, the number of HIV infections in homosexual men is on the increase and this demographic is predicted to rise sharply among HIV infected people in Vietnam.

In related news, the Vietnam Red Cross and the Vietnam Youth Network for HIV Prevention on November 30 organized a meeting and some activities in response to World AIDS Day in Hanoi.

The 2013 theme for World AIDS Day is ‘No fresh case of HIV/AIDS’.  One of the event highlights is to supply consultation and free HIV tests. Organizers have ensured to keep all information confidential.

This year the campaign is striving for a reduction of 50 percent in fresh HIV cases, caused by unsafe sex among young people, gays, lesbians and sex workers. It also aims to eliminate cases of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

Moreover, it targets to decrease by 50 percent deaths among HIV infected mothers and number of HIV cases acquired through injecting of drugs.

The event was sponsored by American Red Cross, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Society.

By Minh Khang – Translated by Uyen Phuong

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