A parade was held in HCM City on Saturday as part of a ceremony to launch the National Action Month against HIV/AIDS to mark World AIDS Day, December 1. — VNS Photo Việt Dũng
HCM CITY — The 2019 National Action Month against HIV/AIDS was launched on Saturday at a ceremony held by the HCM City Department of Health to raise awareness of the disease and improve prevention, testing and treatment.
Held to mark World AIDS Day (December 1), it featured a vehicle parade in Bình Chánh District to raise awareness of the HIV/AIDS, recommended courses of actions and distributed leaflets containing useful information to attendees.
According to the HCM City Disease Control Centre, in recent years HIV transmission through sexual intercourse has been on the rise, surpassing transmission through blood.
As of September over 61,000 people had been diagnosed with HIV in the city, with over 11,000 dying of AIDS.
Funding from international organisations is decreasing, and the risk of HIV transmission among high-risk groups like prostitutes, injecting drug users and men who have sex with men is still high.
The city hopes to achieve the United Nation's 90-90-90 goal – 90 per cent of all people with HIV knowing their status, 90 per cent of all people diagnosed with HIV being able to receive sustained antiretroviral therapy (ARV) and 90 per cent of all people receiving ARV achieving viral suppression – by 2020 and eliminating AIDS by 2030.
Phan Thị Cẩm Nhung, deputy chairwoman of the Bình Chánh District People's Committee, said: "After 30 years of combating HIV/AIDS, the country has achieved encouraging results such as decreasing the rate of HIV infection in urban areas, the number of people with HIV developing AIDS, the number of deaths caused by AIDS, and, especially, discrimination against people with the condition."
According to the centre, pre-exposure prophylaxis treatment is offered to people with high risk of HIV at 24 medical facilities in the city, with over 2,400 people benefiting from it.
More than 37,000 people were also receiving ARV treatment as of September, up from over 32,000 at the end of 2017, it added.
With regard to the 90-90-90 goal, by the middle of this year, the city had reached 85 per cent, 83.6 per cent and around 97 per cent.
Nguyễn Hữu Hưng, deputy director of the department, said to ensure the goal is accomplished, authorities need to be more proactive in combating HIV/AIDS and improve public awareness of the disease.
He urged everyone in society to take part in HIV/AIDS prevention activities and international organisations to continue their support to the city.
Văn Hùng, head of the centre’s HIV/AIDS prevention department, said the city would continue to pursue the 90-90-90 goal in 2020 by identifying more people with HIV and helping them get ARV treatment, improving medical facilities and expanding the testing and treatment services. — VNS