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Communication key to HIV/AIDS fight

Update: June, 14/2014 - 09:45
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam called on officials to mobilise all available resources to fight contributing factors linked to the spread of HIV/AIDS. — VNA Photo

HA NOI (VNS)— Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has emphasised the need to enhance efforts to raise public awareness of HIV/AIDS, and the risks posed by drugs and prostitution.

Dam made the call at a session of the National Committee for Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS, Drugs and Prevention, held in Ha Noi yesterday to review the efforts from the first half of the year and to set tasks for the remainder of 2014.

The Deputy PM, who is also the chair of the committee, said the task of providing education and communicating methods to prevent and control the disease would be difficult given State budget allocations and official development assistance (ODA) had been falling since the beginning of the year.

Dam called on officials to mobilise all available resources to fight contributing factors linked to the spread of HIV/AIDS.

HIV/AIDS and the risks posed by drugs and prostitution needed to be included in workshops at high schools, said Dam, adding that students were one of the groups most vulnerable to the disease.

The Deputy PM also urged the Ministry of Public Security to collaborate with agencies and organisations in compiling statistics on the number of drug addicts nationwide. Meanwhile, the Health Ministry has also been asked to consider new medicines, besides Methadone, that could be used to rehabilitate drug users.

Dam also requested localities to urgently map out financial options for revamping rehabilitation programmes by 2020.

According to a report released by the committee, since the beginning of the year, the country has recorded 3,133 HIV-infected cases, 1,388 AIDS cases and 462 deaths from the disease.

The virus is spreading in major cities like Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City, especially among high-risk groups, such as male prostitutes and drug addicts. Drug crimes and prostitution have continued to escalate and it is estimated that there are more than 25,680 prostitutes in the country, mainly concentrated in the Red River Delta, the northern central and southeastern regions, and the Mekong Delta.

As many as 478 models to prevent prostitution and support former sex workers to reintegrate into the community have been piloted in 40 provinces and cities.

Competent agencies have also detected many transnational drug rings linked to large volumes of narcotics. More than 32,000 drug addicts have been detoxified at centres, while nearly 3,580 people have received vocational training and 860 others have been provided with jobs after their treatment. — VNS

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