The Việt Nam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control on Wednesday announced that the pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, programme would be rolled out in 15 more cities and provinces as part of the country’s commitment to ending HIV by 2030. Photo courtesy of PATH
HCM CITY — The pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, programme will be expanded to another 15 cities and provinces as part of the country’s commitment to end HIV by 2030, according to the Việt Nam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control.
In June 2017 the VAAC together with the Healthy Markets project, a five-year initiative funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and UNAIDS kicked-off the country’s first PrEP pilot in Hà Nội and HCM City.
Last year in November it was expanded to another 11 provinces.
More than 6,000 people have so far enrolled in the programme, including 3,946 this year.
“This clearly demonstrates there is a demand for PrEP in Việt Nam,” Phan Thị Thu Hương, deputy director of VAAC, said.
“We are excited to expand access to PrEP to 15 additional cities and provinces,” she told a review meeting in HCM City on Wednesday.
“Along with The Global Fund’s non-refundable assistance to support Việt Nam’s response to HIV/AIDS among the MSM community in 2019-2020, we can enable greater access to and uptake of PrEP for those that are at highest risk of HIV.”
Health experts said when taken correctly, PrEP, a combination of two anti-HIV drugs, is one of the most powerful tools to prevent transmission of HIV infection.
In 2014 WHO recommended offering PrEP to men who have sex with men (MSM).
Based on its effectiveness and acceptability, WHO expanded this recommendation to cover all people at substantial risk of HIV.
In Việt Nam, key population groups at substantial risk of acquiring HIV include MSM, transgender women, people who inject drugs, and sex or injecting partners of people living with HIV who are not virally suppressed.
“PrEP is a powerful tool in terms of enabling population-level epidemic control,” Dr Kimberly Green, chief of party for the Healthy Markets project, said.
“But it is much more than that. On the individual level, it is transforming people’s lives by enabling greater intimacy, quality of life and peace of mind for those at risk of acquiring HIV.” — VNS