Vietnam made a big step in HIV/AIDS prevention and control

09/12/2014

                                     Campaign on HIV/AIDS prevention and control in Vietnam

Human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is a disease spectrum of the human immune system caused by infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Following initial infection, a person may experience a brief period of influenza-like illness. This is typically followed by a prolonged period without symptoms. As the infection progresses, it interferes more and more with the immune system, making the person much more susceptible to common infections like tuberculosis, as well as opportunistic infections and tumors that do not usually affect people who have working immune systems. The late symptoms of the infection are referred to as AIDS. This stage is often complicated by an infection of the lung known as pneumocystis pneumonia, severe weight loss, a type of cancer known as Kaposi's sarcoma, or other AIDS-defining conditions.
In Vietnam, there were 250 000 people living with HIV and 14 000 new HIV infections in 2013. In 2014, more than 87 000 people were accessing HIV treatment, a 30-fold increase since 2005, but just one third of all people living with HIV.
Vietnam is considered a role model in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Southeast Asia , with the lowest rate of HIV infections. The implementation of effective policies and the national HIV/AIDS prevention programme have made modern treatment options and anti-retroviral (ARV) medication widely available.
The fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic has been going on for 20 years. There was a period from 1995 to 2005 where we faced extreme difficulties as HIV spread rapidly. However, because the desire to combat this disease remains strong throughout the entire political system, we have gradually brought the situation under control. In addition, our strategies to fight HIV/AIDS have been consistent with international practice. For that reason, we received a lot of support from the international community. Since 2009, the number of new HIV infections has steadily decreased. Also, we have built well-trained task forces that are on active duty around the country. Another remarkable figure is that nearly 70,000 HIV/AIDS patients have received treatment – an achievement we did not dare to dream of 10 years ago. The HIV-infected patients have growing confidence in the Government so they participate more actively in the HIV/AIDS efforts initiated by the Government.
As we have successfully emerged from poverty to become a low middle-income country, we now face the challenge of reduced international assistance. It makes sense that donors would relocate resources to more economically challenged countries. We are facing an imminent shortage of resources for HIV/AIDS. Over the last decade, we have increased the level of funding for HIV/AIDS activities from US$0.06 to $1 per capita. International assistance accounts for 80 per cent of the total: the annual funding from the State hovers around $7 million, while contributions from donors can be as high as $87 million. Once these contributions stop, we will face an enormous challenge. And in the absence of international support, our capacity to build HIV/AIDS task forces will be greatly affected. These are concerns that the Government has started to address.
Meanwhile, the reduction of international assistance occurs as the HIV epidemic in Viet Nam is undergoing a dramatic shift. HIV infection is no longer concentrated in urban areas but has begun to spread to remote rural districts. As HIV finds its way to ethnic people who have struggled with poverty for years, new challenges emerge. Another new challenge is that drug users, especially youngsters, have switched to synthetic drugs. Without continued funding, we may face a new wave of the HIV epidemic.
To move forward, first of all, we need to maintain the strong political will to combat this disease that was displayed in previous years. Secondly, the National Assembly should revisit its budget plan to allocate more funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. While it is inevitable that we must increase the funding from the State budget, we also need to draw resources from other stakeholders. Why don't we begin with the community itself? As of now, all of the HIV-related treatment expenses are fully covered, so we should come up with mechanisms that are more selective. For example, patients who are in better financial condition should be required to share their burdens with the State. We could also seek support from enterprises, charity organisations and religious groups. Advisors even recommended the Government use Official Development Assistance in the fight against the HIV epidemic, just as these funds are used to develop infrastructure.
Recently, the Government of Viet Nam announced on 25 October its commitment to new targets intended to rapidly expand HIV treatment, thus becoming the first country in Asia to adopt the 90–90–90 targets. Around the world, momentum is building behind reaching 90–90–90 by 2020: 90% of people living with HIV will know their HIV status; 90% of people who know their status are on HIV treatment; and 90% of all people on treatment will have undetectable levels of HIV in their body (known as viral suppression). Viet Nam’s commitment to these ambitious targets puts the country on course to ending its AIDS epidemic by 2030.
In general, the Government of Viet Nam has taken some bold steps to address these issues more effectively. The National Assembly made a decision to stop sending sex workers to five centres. The Government is working to shift more rapidly to community-based and voluntary drug treatment services. All of these brave efforts are facilitating greater access to HIV services. Viet Nam is an emerging regional leader on these issues. UN organizations would like to congratulate the Government of Viet Nam for this and encourage additional focus on HIV services that are proven to be effective and focus on the populations in greatest need.
We believe that in the near future, Vietnam will have great achievement in the fight against the HIV and other diseases./.
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All comments [ 10 ]


Hùng Quân 9/12/14 22:11

Vietnam has made considerable achievements in HIV/AIDS prevention and control.

Huy Lâm 9/12/14 22:12

The rate of HIV infection cases in Vietnam is now the lowest in the Southeast Asia

Quốc Cường 9/12/14 22:14

Vietnam has demonstrated its strong political commitment to speeding up HIV/AIDS prevention and carrying out a national strategy on the fight with the participation of the entire political system

Quốc Kiên 9/12/14 22:15

The country has also exerted efforts to ensure equal access by all people to social welfare, medical care as well as HIV/AIDS preventive services and treatment, which is highlighted in the revised Constitution 2013,

Lê Tín 9/12/14 22:16

Vietnam need international organizations to continue encouraging international organisations to assist Vietnam in eliminating the pandemic by 2030 with priority given to preventive intervention measures and antiretroviral (ARV) drug and Methadone treatment.

Phạm Hiếu 9/12/14 22:17

Vietnam will play an active role at the UN General Assembly to ensure that HIV/AIDS pandemic remains in attention as one of sustainable development goals after 2015

Quân Hoàng 9/12/14 22:19

AIDS must be stopped immediately!

Huy Quốc 9/12/14 22:20

Vietnam needs both domestic and international resources to help the country achieve the goals launched by the UN.

Hoàng Lân 9/12/14 22:23

The most important solution is to help people to enhance the awareness, capacity in effective response to HIV / AIDS, and support skills and expertise to develop, supervise the implementation of legislation related to HIV / AIDS.

Vân Nhàn 9/12/14 22:25

Vietnam will get very good result in the combat agaist AIDS

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