|Minister of Health Đào Hồng Lan at the PEPFAR event on Tuesday. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — Minister of Health Đào Hồng Lan said the United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has been among the largest sponsors of HIV/AIDS prevention and control programmes in Việt Nam in recent years, helping the country gradually control HIV/AIDS and maintain the community infection rate below 0.3 per cent.
Speaking at the 20th anniversary of PEPFAR held in Hà Nội on Tuesday, Lan said Việt Nam's HIV/AIDS prevention and control work had gained many important achievements over more than 30 years.
Việt Nam had gradually controlled the HIV/AIDS epidemic on all three criteria, including reducing the number of newly detected HIV infections, reducing the number of people progressing to AIDS stage, and reducing the number of AIDS-related deaths.
This achievement, apart from Việt Nam's efforts in HIV/AIDS prevention and control, was due to the support and cooperation of international organisations, she said.
Lan expressed gratitude for the significant financial and technical support that PEPFAR had provided to Việt Nam.
In 2003, the US Government launched the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). In 2004, Việt Nam became the first Asian country to receive support and was a key country during PEPFAR's early stages.
The US Government has become the largest financial supporter of HIV/AIDS prevention and control programmes in Việt Nam, with an annual budget of about US$40 million.
PEPFAR is currently supporting 11 key cities and provinces with 45.2 per cent of the country's living HIV-infected population.
Over the past nearly 20 years, PEPFAR and the Global Fund have supported up to 90 per cent of ARV drugs for people living with HIV, helping to prolong and improve the quality of life of over 100,000 HIV-infected individuals.
Speaking at the event, US Ambassador to Việt Nam Marc E. Knapper emphasised that health cooperation was a crucial foundation for bilateral relations between the two countries.
With the support of PEPFAR, Việt Nam had made significant progress in leading and guiding HIV prevention and control efforts.
From 2021 to 2022, PEPFAR provided critical technical assistance to support access to ARV treatment for 8,727 new patients, and helped maintain ARV medication for at least 89,000 people currently undergoing treatment.
In addition to treating people living with HIV, PEPFAR's activities also support access to comprehensive prevention services including HIV counselling and testing, pre-exposure prophylaxis, and strategic communication.
PEPFAR Global Ambassador Dr John N.Nkengasong expressed his delight over PEPFAR's achievements. The ambassador noted that HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment remained challenging, and therefore, both sides needed to cooperate more closely.
He said that Việt Nam was truly a global example of sustainability and domestic resource mobilisation through the health insurance programme in the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS.
Việt Nam had been very responsive in adapting to innovations and scientific advances to comprehensively implement measures.
Another important factor for the country's success was its ability to attract the participation of various stakeholders, from national-level ministries and agencies to provincial-level organisations, civil society organisations, private sector and community-based organisations, he said.
The ambassador expressed confidence that Việt Nam would continue to achieve many successes in reaching the HIV/AIDS treatment targets set by the United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
He stressed that PEPFAR hoped to continue to accompany Việt Nam on this journey.
|Young people visit display area introducing HIV/AIDS products and documents at the 20th anniversary of the PEPFAR held in Hà Nội on Tuesday. — VNS Photo Khánh Linh|
At the event, Minister of Health Lan expressed her desire for PEPFAR to continue supporting the Ministry of Health with some priority solutions, particularly in supporting the supply of HIV testing and medication in emergency situations, given the current difficulties the healthcare sector is facing in terms of procurement and supply of medicines and medical supplies.
Other priorities would include expanding counselling and testing models, expanding the localities benefiting from the public health response strategy to have sufficient evidence for appropriate interventions.
Furthermore, in the context of the increasing trend of HIV infections in the homosexual and transgender groups, Lan suggested that PEPFAR support a comprehensive strategy to intervene in reducing the risk of HIV infection in these groups.
"Together with the support of PEPFAR, the Vietnamese government commits to continue building sustainable financial mechanisms for the transfer of HIV/AIDS prevention and control services, enhancing the participation of the private sector and social organisations in investing and providing HIV/AIDS prevention and control services to ensure effective use of mobilised resources," she said.
Nguyễn Thị Lan, a beneficiary, said she was diagnosed HIV positive in 2020. Two years later, she got pregnant.
“Thanks to all the interventions in PEPFAR-supported programmes, my baby was born HIV-free. My baby is now six months old and doing well,” she said.
Another beneficiary, who is only known as Sơn, said he wanted to protect his own health when having casual affairs.
“Taking a PrEP pill every day is now my habit. It means a lot to me,” he said.
PrEP officially started in Việt Nam in 2020. After three years, the number of PrEP users has reached 67,000, with 51,000 PrEP users as of 2022.
In 2004, PEPFAR supported Việt Nam with $18 million, and increased gradually to $98 million in 2010. From 2004 to 2022, PEPFAR provided nearly $900 million to support Việt Nam.
In 2013-2023, PEPFAR remains the largest sponsor, accounting for over 40 per cent of the total HIV/AIDS spending. PEPFAR and the Global Fund have contributed nearly 90 per cent of the total spending on ARV drugs.
Additionally, PEPFAR directly supports HIV testing supplies, methadone medication, and pre-exposure prophylaxis drugs for high-risk groups. — VNS
|US Ambassador to Việt Nam Marc E. Knapper delivers a speech at the event. — VNS Photos Khánh Linh|