Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Health has asked provinces and cities to strengthen HIV/AIDS control and prevention activities as part of the Central Party Steering Committee’s goal of eliminating HIV/AIDS in the country by 2030.
The health ministry asked localities to improve HIV preventive measures, especially distribution of syringes and condoms to high-risk groups like drug addicts and prostitutes. Methadone programmes will be maintained and expanded to treat drug addicts. Communication activities will strengthen the community’s awareness and eliminate stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV/AIDS.
To strengthen HIV supervision and detection activities, HIV consultation, test and screening forms will be diversified at medical facilities, community and households. HIV test programmes should be carried out at the district level in mountainous and remote and ethnic minority areas, especially residential clusters with many people living with HIV/AIDS. The health sector encouraged localities to also establish HIV test laboratories at the district level in remote and mountainous regions for early detection of new HIV cases in the area.
The ARV treatment programme will be expanded widely as soon as possible to reach HIV carriers. HIV treatment facilities will be strengthened to meet the regulations of the health sector. The expense of ARV drugs for HIV/AIDS treatment will be covered by the health insurance fund from the beginning of 2019, according to the instruction.
The ministry also suggested provinces and cities allocate more local budget for HIV/AIDS prevention and control with the goal of providing health insurance cards to all people living with HIV/AIDS. Human resources specialising in HIV/AIDS prevention should be maintained and strengthened for the establishment of the provincial and city disease control centres.
The Việt Nam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC) director Hoàng Đình Cảnh said that HIV/AIDS epidemic is still widespread and with a high fatality rate. Việt Nam has about 10,000 new HIV cases and around 2,000 deaths by AIDS yearly.
“The increasing number of drug addicts and prostitutes has made the epidemic situation more complicated and out of control. Lack of financial resources is also a barrier that minimises coverage of consultation and treatment services, especially services for high-risk groups. About 45,000 managed HIV carriers still have no access to the ARV treatment programme,” said Cảnh.
Statistics from the VAAC showed that there are currently about 209,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Việt Nam, of which 175,000 receive regular care from the health sector and only 130,000 are treated with the ARV drug programme. — VNS