Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — HCM City targets a serious reduction in the number of AIDS cases by 2030, according to the city’s Health Department.
Nguyễn Hữu Hưng, deputy director of the city’s Department of Health, was quoted by Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper as saying that the city had been selected by the Việt Nam Administration of HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC) as one of five pilot cities to reach the target by 2030.
The UN Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has chosen the city as one of the largest fast-track cities in the world achieving its 90-90-90 targets set by the UN in 2014.
The 90-90-90 goals mean that by 2020 90 per cent of HIV-infected people will know their infection status, 90 per cent of HIV positive people will receive anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs, and 90 per cent of people taking ARV drugs will have a low HIV load.
HCM City is expected to reach its 90-90-90 target ahead of schedule, having achieved a 73-75-96 target so far.
In recent years, international support for AIDS/HIV has been declining, so the city has tried to ensure that there will be no interruptions in HIV/AIDS prevention by issuing new policies to maintain ARV for an HIV patient’s entire life and to limit drug resistance and spread of the disease.
The city continues to provide HIV treatment for patients, including paying 100 per cent for health insurance cards and 20 per cent co-payment for ARV drugs for people living with HIV in the city, including those with temporary residence certificates of six months.
Methadone treatment for patients addicted to drugs is also paid by the city.
According to the Việt Nam Authority of HIV/AIDS Control under the health ministry, the city has 31,877 people living with HIV/AIDS receiving ARV treatment.
This figure represents more than 25 per cent of the estimated total figure of people living with HIV in the country
Dr Hoàng Đình Cảnh, deputy director of the Việt Nam Authority of HIV/AIDS Control warned that AIDS could spread among people not yet diagnosed for HIV. The estimated number could be about 50,000 people, especially among five groups: transgender people, gay men, users of drug injections, people working away from home, and prostitutes.
"Việt Nam is adopting the latest international models of HIV prevention, but it is necessary to have new peers to prevent spread to these five groups,” he said.
With ARV drugs and other efforts, many experts say that people living with HIV can live for 50 years from the date of infection, he said.
The first person diagnosed with HIV in the country in 1992 is alive and well.
This year, health insurance began covering the costs of treating opportunistic infections.
By 2020, 80 per cent ARV drug costs will be covered by health insurance. — VNS