Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Anti-retroviral (ARV) therapy and methadone maintenance therapy are expected to be offered at more health facilities in Việt Nam to achieve the UN’s 90-90-90 goals by 2020, according to the Việt Nam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control.
“The integration (of ARV and methadone maintenance therapies) will be expanded in the country as many provinces and cities have had good results from the pilot programmes on integrated treatment,” said Dr Phạm Đức Mạnh, deputy director of Việt Nam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC).
Mạnh spoke at a three-day national conference on treatment of substance-use disorders and HIV, which began on Thursday in HCM City.
The UN goals aim to have at least 90 per cent of all people with HIV know their status and 90 per cent receive sustained ARV therapy. The goals also call for 90 per cent of all people receiving ARV therapy to be eventually diagnosed with viral suppression.
To help reduce the number of staff and costs at health centres, Mạnh said that addicts living with HIV should have access to ARV therapy and methadone maintenance therapy at the same health facility.
Prostitutes and MSM (men who have sex with men), and other groups at a high-risk of HIV transmission, could also benefit from integrated treatment.
At least 34 per cent of the country’s drug users are infected with HIV, according to VAAC.
However, Mạnh said that integrated treatment had increased the number of tasks for health staff and that use of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) was increasing in the country.
He expressed concern that methadone maintenance therapy had not been effective for a group of ATS users.
“This is a big challenge,” Mạnh said.
Dr Huỳnh Thanh Hiển of the city’s Psychiatric Hospital said that new kinds of recreational drugs were being used, but the rapid tests available could not detect these drugs.
“These are the challenges we face in fighting drugs,” Hiển said, adding that it is important to educate young generations to avoid new kinds of drugs.
More than 51,000 patients receive methadone maintenance therapy at 280 health facilities in the country, according to Dr Trần Diệp Tuấn, rector at HCM City University of Medicine and Pharmacy.
Hà Nội Department of Health cited statistic from Việt Nam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC) saying that only 49 per cent of patients with HIV have received ARV treatment as of October, last year. In 2015, 80 per cent of all people with HIV know their status. — VNS