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VietNamNews

Mass media to join AIDS fight

Update: September, 30/2014 - 09:13
An agreement to this effect was signed yesterday, witnessed by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Chairman of the Viet Nam Fatherland Front Nguyen Thien Nhan, and other Government and State leaders.— VNA/VNS Photo Duc Tam

HA NOI (VNS) — The Vietnam News Agency, Radio the Voice of Viet Nam and National Viet Nam Television will team up with the National Committee for AIDS, Drugs and Prostitution Prevention and Control to mount a better fight against the social problems.

An agreement to this effect was signed yesterday, witnessed by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Chairman of the Viet Nam Fatherland Front Nguyen Thien Nhan, and other Government and State leaders.

The media agencies vowed to speed up the popularisation of the Party's guidelines and the State's policies and laws regarding the effort.

They will work together to heighten the responsibilities of individuals and civil society organisations while helping people gain a correct understanding of the dangers and consequences of these social problems.

The agencies have been told to reflect the committee's activities and operations of other organisations and individuals "in an effective, accurate and timely way".

These efforts are seen as part of the national capacity to have HIV/AIDS totally under control by 2030.

Viet Nam reported 12,599 new HIV cases in 2013, down 60 per cent since 2007. The number of AIDS patients and fatalities was halved during the 2007-2013 period.

High HIV/AIDS risk

About 12,500 children in the northern mountain province of Son La are at high risk of being infected with HIV/AIDS. At present, 156 children in the region have the disease, according to the provincial Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.

Many of the 12,500 at-risk children have a father, mother or relative who has either been infected with HIV or died from AIDS. The local health sector has distributed medicine free of charge to the 156 children with HIV in Son La.

HIV is spread through sexual contact with a person who has the disease, sharing needles or – less commonly – blood transfusions using infected blood. It can also occur in babies born to mothers with HIV.

Children affected by HIV/AIDS living in remote areas, such as Tong Lenh Commune in Thuan Chau District and Hat Lot Town in Moc Chau District, met a lot of difficulties when trying to access health services, said Dam Van Huong, the director of the Son La Centre for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control.

The centre's statistics showed that by the end of 2013, more than 8,700 people in the province had contracted HIV, and in nearly 3,000 of them, the virus had developed into AIDS, making up 0.5 per cent of the province's total population.

Son La has the second largest number of people living with HIV in Viet Nam after HCM City.

Every year, about 400 new cases of HIV affection occur in the province.

Son La is home to more than 15,000 drug addicts, according to Huong. However, that amount only includes those under health sector management. The actual number could be much higher.

The province has not yet found any effective measures for managing people before marriage, Huong said.

"We say that they should have health checks and blood tests before they marry, but they are still unaware of the disease," he said. — VNS

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