Progress on UN goal tackles spread of HIV

  • September 23, 2015

Vietnam has displayed encouraging progress in halting the spread of HIV/AIDS under the UN Millennium Development Goal (MDG).

According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s (MPI) draft country report on achieving the Vietnam Millennium Development Goals, the number of new HIV cases has decreased over the years, from 13,815 in 2010 to 10,570 in November 2014. Vietnam has reduced HIV prevalence to 0.26% of the population.

As of April 2015, Vietnam has 224,611 HIV-positive people, 75,871 AIDS patients and 77,604 AIDS related deaths. The figures for newly-reported cases of HIV, AIDS, and related mortality have seen a downward trend over the years.

The quantity and quality of HIV/AIDS treatment, care, and support services have been improved, especially the remarkable scale-up of anti-retroviral therapy (ART) coverage that now reaches 67.6% against current eligibility criteria (per national guidelines in 2013), bringing the number of individuals receiving ART to 90,428 (end of 2014 figures), almost 34 times higher than the figure in 2005.


Tran Quoc Phuong, vice head of the MPI’s Department for Labour, Culture and Social Affairs, said that Vietnam had scaled up comprehensive harm-reduction programmes, including the needle and syringe programme, the 100% condom use programme and opioid substitution with methadone maintenance therapy, to reduce the transmission of HIV among those with high-risk behaviours.

The national comprehensive condom programme for 2011-2020, which had all provinces distribute condoms free of charge, has critically addressed the decline in donor resources for condoms in Vietnam, promoting social marketing for condoms and improving the quality assurance mechanism.

Additionally, information, education, and communication activities have been implemented by multi-sectoral organisations and in various forms throughout the country. In the first six months of 2014, communication activities were carried out, reaching five million people, 13% of whom are living in high-risk populations.

“Results from multiple surveys indicated an increasing trend in knowledge among youths aged 15-24 years who identified HIV transmission modes and common misperceptions regarding HIV transmission”, Phuong said.

However, according to the MPI, despite marked progresses, Vietnam is still facing several challenges that hinder its efforts in fighting the epidemic.

Although the numbers of HIV carriers, new HIV infected cases and HIV related deaths have decreased, the pace of reduction has been slow and unstable. The HIV/AIDS epidemic has spread to all geographic areas of the country, with HIV carriers present in 100% of provinces, 98% of districts and 78% of communes.

Meanwhile, the coverage of HIV/AIDS services remains limited. The number of condom and syringes available only meets 50% of demand. The number of patients receiving methadone treatment are only 21% of the target (16,00 out of 80,000) while HIV/AIDS treatment reached one third of the number of HIV carriers.

“Furthermore, there is a lack of social and economic support for HIV carriers and other high-risk population groups who continue to suffer from stigma and discrimination, while there is currently no dedicated legal service to provide protection for the rights of HIV carriers and key at-risk populations”, the report said.

Source: VOV

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