HCM CITY -- In comparation with injecting drug users and female sex workers, HIV infection rates among men who have sex with men (MSM) is much higher. Lack of understanding about safe sex leads to unprevention himself, MSM is of on the reasons that make HIV-infected people in Vietnam rise to alarming level.
According to estimates by the Department of HIV / AIDS, it is now available from 1.5 per cent to 2 per cent of men who are MSM in Vietnam aged 15 to 49 years.
In HCM City area alone, the number of MSM has reached 15,000. According to Nguyen Thi Hue, Head of Harm reduction department, HCMC Provincial AIDS Committee said, not only increasing in number, the risk of HIV / AIDS is also very large in MSM community.
"The result of the survey shows that the rate of MSM use protective gear, safe sex is less than 40 per cent . Compared with men who inject drugs, female sex workers, MSM is on the top of risk for HIV / AIDS injection" said Hue.
Not only in the city, the problem of HIV / AIDS in MSM are also common in other provinces.
According to Nguyen Vu Tung, Chair of National MSM Technical Working Group, the reason that make MSM not use condoms is that they think homosexual relationships are not at risk of HIV transmission through sex.
Besides, the lack of information about the safe , relevant products has also contributed to maintain this situation.
Josselyn Neukom, Chief of party of The USAID's Social marketing for HIV prevention project, said in 2008, The USAID's project ‘s started to sell Number 1 Plus to MSM with subsidy supporting on price, but since 2008, only 800 thousand products have been sold out in Vietnam.
This figure shows that there are many things which we have to do in order to serve the needs of MSM better, Josselyn said: " Therefore, In 2011 the project has a marketing planning workshop to review the products strategy together with PACs, MSM and NGO. The project focused on the product's improvements include: (1)Revised positioning to emphasise the product's key benefits including more pleasure and protection from HIV and other STIs ;(2)Redesigned packaging to make it more attractive to consumers and easier to visibly display at pharmacies and other outlets. (3) Modified price to motivate pharmacies and other outlets to purchase, stock, display and promote the product and reduce the need for future funding to sustain access to this essential product.
This effort for increasing sales and providing better access to MSM, which will help to reduce HIV/AIDS infection rate in MSM community. N1P combo pack has addressed the needs for these two specific products in the community. It not only provides protection from HIV infection (as by condom) but also helps to reduce pain and maximise sexual pleasure during anal intercourse. In addition, the innovative social marketing methodology optimizes the opportunities for MARPs to have access to imported good products at reasonable prices. Moreover, N1P new packaging is being more fresh, vibrant, youthful and modern with orange-blue theme, which definitely captures MSM's attention from the look.
"This is the best way to implement prevention strategy against HIV / AIDS in an active manner for MSM" – Josselyn said.
Therefore, the new N1P is considered one of the best effective prevention strategy for MSM to reduce HIV infection risk and the product is sold in a co-package convenient for buyers in nationwide. -- VNS