A children with HIV/AIDS at the Hồ Chí Minh Paediatric Hospital 1. VNA/VNS Photo ĐInh Hằng
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam has seen an increase in the number of adolescents infected with HIV, especially among homosexuals.
Statistics from the Ministry of Health showed that the number of HIV carriers aged 15-16 rose three-fold from 2011 to 2019.
Associate Professor Nguyễn Hoàng Long, Director of the Việt Nam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control, attributed the increase to homosexual sex among boys and drug abuse at schools.
Long said parents rarely know their children are at risk of infection so they can be tested. Children often do not dare to inform parents that they are at risk of HIV due to unsafe sex, and health facilities do not test for HIV without their parents' consent, reducing the chances of detecting HIV early.
The National Assembly recently passed the revised Law on Prevention and Control of Viruses Causing Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV / AIDS). Under the revised law, children of 15 years or older can voluntarily request an HIV test, instead of being 16 years or older as currently regulated.
Long from the Administration for HIV/AIDS Control said the age amendment for voluntarily request HIV testing of children from 15 years old without the consent of their parents, q guardian or legal representative is consistent with the actual situation of HIV infection among adolescents.
According to the General Department of Population, the rates of adolescent pregnancy and abortion are increasing rapidly.
"Every year, on average, there are 250,000 to 300,000 abortions, of which 60-70 per cent are among students aged 15-19 years old, there are even cases of pregnancy at the age of 12-14. According to the Ha Noi Obstetrics Hospital, the rate of sexually transmitted diseases among pregnant adolescents is much higher than for pregnant women at an older age," Long said.
Treatment for children with HIV/AIDS in Việt Nam
According to statistics of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, it is estimated that the number of people living with HIV/AIDS in Việt Nam is nearly 230,000, ranking fourth in Southeast Asia.
In the first eight months of the year, the country detected 7,090 HIV cases, while the number of fatalities was 1,392. The number of newly discovered HIV infections were mainly at the age of 16-29 (45 per cent) and 30-39 (31 per cent).
Up to now, 70 per cent of children affected by HIV/AIDS under management are fully supported by need-based services such as healthcare, education, psychological support, nutrition, testing and early diagnosis of HIV infection for children under 18 months old.
Previously, all babies born to HIV-infected mothers were identified as HIV-infected at 18 months of age. However, nowadays, early diagnosis of HIV by DNA testing allows detection of HIV-infected children in infancy.
With this method, the HIV virus will be detected from the fetus being 4-6 weeks old.
Deputy Director of Child Protection and Care, Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Vũ Thị Kim Hoa said there is still much room for HIV/AIDS policies for children to be improved, especially in fighting stigma and encouraging children with HIV/AIDS to go to school. –VNS