VietNamNews

HIV/AIDS patients’ treatment no longer free, now covered under health insurance

Update: December, 26/2018 - 09:00
A woman with HIV receives antiretroviral drugs at a Health Centre in District 11’s community counselling and support division. –VNA/VNS Photo Đinh Hằng
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY — HCM City is expected to treat nearly 4,000 people with HIV/AIDS who have health insurance cards in the first quarter of next year, following the cessation of free treatment for all such patients in the country, according to the city HIV/AIDS Prevention Centre.

For patients who do not have health insurance, they will continue to receive free medicine at health facilities where they are being treated, Dr Văn Hùng, the centre’s vice director, told Việt Nam News Agency.

Forty health facilities that provide HIV treatment have signed contracts with the city-based Việt Nam Social Security to accept health insurance.

These facilities belong to city- and district-level hospitals, as well as health centres’ community counselling and support divisions.

Dr Nguyễn Trung Hòa, director of the Gò Vấp District Health Centre, said that it would be providing counselling and tests as well as treatment for people with HIV/AIDS.

In the first quarter of the year, the centre conducted 14,981 examinations for people with HIV/AIDS, including 8,614 exams for people who had health insurance this year.

The centre has provided antiretroviral drugs to 1,481 people with HIV.  More than 1,300 people with HIV/AIDS treated at the centre have health insurance, accounting for 88.5 per cent of the total.

Dr Kim Chi Na, head of the Health Centre in District 11’s community counselling and support division, said that it was now treating more than 2,700 people with HIV/AIDS.

The division admits 70 new cases with HIV each month, Na said, adding that most of them are from other provinces. The division has only two doctors, but only one doctor is allowed to examine 65 people per day under national healthcare regulations.

The division needs to employ more doctors so that it will comply with the regulation next year when it begins providing treatment to people with HIV/AIDS.

However, because of a shortage of funds, more doctors cannot be hired, Na said.

HCM City has one private general clinic, Galant, in District 5, to treat people with HIV/AIDS under health insurance coverage.

Charity health facilities which provide treatment to people with HIV/AIDS have been upgraded to meet the insurance coverage criteria of the Việt Nam Social Security agency.

Nearly 10 per cent of people with HIV/AIDS do not have health insurance.

The city People’s Committee plans to use its budget to help them buy health insurance cards as soon as possible

“The city aims to treat all people with HIV/AIDS under health insurance coverage by the end of 2019,” Hùng said.

Lưu Thị Thanh Huyền, vice director of the city-based Việt Nam Social Security, said the agency would closely work with the city’s Department of Health to ensure healthcare services for people with HIV/AIDS during the change of treatment from free coverage under a national programme (that received funds from international donors) to health insurance coverage.

The Ministry of Health said that insured people who use healthcare services related to HIV/AIDS will receive antiretroviral drugs, HIV tests and other services, and insured pregnant women with HIV will also receive treatment. — VNS