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VN seeks international assistance to avoid AIDS resurgence

Update: May, 26/2016 - 19:00
A health officer tells a woman living with HIV/AIDS how to avoid transferring the disease from mother to child. – VNA/VNS Photo Dương Ngọc
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam is seeking international assistance with HIV/AIDS prevention and control to avoid a resurgence of the disease.

This was revealed by health officials yesterday at the stakeholder consultation on the upcoming high-level meeting on ending AIDS.

Nguyễn Hoàng Long, head of the health ministry’s Department of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control, said a delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the National Committee for AIDS, Drugs and Prostitution Prevention and Control Vũ Đức Đam would attend the high-level meeting, organised by the United Nations, next month.

Calling for international assistance would be one of the key messages Việt Nam’s delegation intends to deliver at the UN meeting, he said.

Other messages include Việt Nam’s progress in HIV/AIDS control, the challenges it has faced in fighting the disease and the country’s appreciation of international support.

Long said the deputy PM was especially interested in bringing the voice of the people living with HIV/AIDS to the world’s notice.

The AIDS department and UNAIDS in Việt Nam have organised four consultation workshops to gather opinions that may help enhance Việt Nam’s contributions to the meeting.

The fourth consultation yesterday focused on the need to strengthen access to services for people living with HIV/AIDS and for vulnerable groups, the demand for an improved legal framework and the need to secure the sufferers’ human rights. Co-operation with non-State partners was also discussed.

According to the AIDS department, Việt Nam has made great strides in HIV/AIDS prevention and control. For example, the number of newly infected people each year dropped from 18,000 in 2010 to some 10,000 in 2015.

The death toll fell from 3,200 people in 2010 to some 2,000 people in 2015. Discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS is said to be on the decline.

However, major challenges remain, including the increasing number of women being infected and reduced financial support from international donors.

In 2014, the country announced its commitment to set new targets intended to rapidly expand HIV treatment, making it the first Asian country to adopt the 90–90–90 target.

This means that 90 per cent of people living with HIV will know their HIV status; 90 per cent of people who know their status will be on HIV treatment; and 90 per cent of all people on treatment will achieve undetectable levels of HIV in their body (known as viral suppression). Around the world, momentum is building behind reaching this target by 2020. Viet Nam’s commitment to this ambitious target puts the country on course to ending its AIDS epidemic by 2030. — VNS

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