The deputy head of Viet Nam's Administration of HIV/AIDS Control, Bui Duc Duong, spoke with Voice of Viet Nam about the latest treatment for the disease.
Viet Nam is the first country to launch the 2.0 HIV/AIDS treatment method. Would you please talk about the purpose of this method in detail?
First of all, 2.0 method is an integrated strategy with its basic goal to minimise the HIV infection and mortality rates as well as discrimination. It is the long-term goal.
Second, the method will connect projects into a national agenda. Patients will be able to approach services more effectively, receive earlier diagnosis, and better care and treatment; the aim is to reduce infection and mortality rates.
So, how will the HIV/AIDS pilot treatment programme be carried out?
We will implement the programme in the third quarter this year. It will be carried out in two provinces with the highest HIV/AIDS cases including northwestern Dien Bien Province and the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta city of Can Tho. Communication systems will be used as a means of raising awareness amongst locals of the HIV/AIDS services provided in their areas, which will help patients approach services easier. We are currently making preparations for early implementation to decrease inappropriate expenses. In the past two years, Viet Nam has laid a foundation for the help from the World Health Organisation to launch this pilot programme. We expect to see results in the next year. In 2012, the programme will be carried out in more provinces and cities with high HIV/AIDS cases.
In the past years, HIV-infected people in Viet Nam have mainly taken anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment in order to minimise mortality rate. What is the difference between 2.0 and ARV treatment?
2.0 treatment method serves the purpose of helping HIV patients approach treatment as soon as possible. In fact, 70 per cent of the 51,000 patients using ARV medicine in Viet Nam receive late treatment. We wish for patients to be treated much earlier. If HIV-infected people are not treated early enough, the hospital and treatment costs are considerably higher. Therefore, Viet Nam's Administration of HIV/AIDS Control hopes the implementation of this 2.0 method will help treat the disease as soon as possible.
We help HIV patients receive treatment easier by making services closer to them, by using commune and hamlet systems to aid patients. Specialised drugs must be ready in each unit. In addition to ARV drugs, health units will be equipped with anti-tuberculosis and opportunistic infection medicine. Simplifying treatment means using low-toxicity medicine.
In addition, several kinds of medicine could be combined in one tablet. So, a patient needs to take one to two tablets a day, reducing the rate of drug resistance. — VNS