Accordingto the Vietnam Administration of HIV/AIDS Control, the country beganoffering Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) to people at high risks of contractingHIV, especially gays, in June 2017.
People, who are at high risk, take an antiretroviral(ARV) drug which contains tenofovir every day. When they are exposed to HIVthrough sex or recreational drug injections, the oral HIV PrEP may work to keepthem from becoming infected. When taken consistently, PrEP has been shown toreduce the risk of HIV infections in people who are at high risk by up to 92percent.
The pilot project has been implemented in Ho Chi MinhCity until September 2018. Its outcomes will be used to build nationalguidelines and financial mechanism for PrEP in the coming time.
In addition, the Ministry of Health has scaled upcommunity-based HIV testing services, focusing on 15 cities and provinces withlarge numbers of HIV infections; and piloted the HIV self-testing in whichpeople can perform a test on a sample of their saliva at community-basedorganisations.
It has also expanded a network of district-based publicclinics that provide HIV confirmatory tests in “hotspots” like HCM City, ThanhHoa, Son La, Dien Bien, Nghe An, Yen Bai and Lao Cai. This has helped reducewaiting time for results and save costs.
TheVietnam Administration of HIV/AIDS Control estimated that there were over 3,500people who tested HIV-positive, approximately 2,000 infected people had fillblown AIDS and 641 died of the disease during the first five months of 2017,down 11 percent, 21 percent and 34 percent, respectively, from the same periodlast year.
However,20 cities and provinces across the country saw year-on-year increases in thenumber of new HIV infections, including Hanoi, Tay Ninh, Yen Bai, Tien Giang,Kien Giang, HCM City and Phu Tho. The number of new HIV infections in Hanoi andHCM City accounted for 25 percent of the country’s total new cases.
Inaddition, the number of HIV infections among gays has been on the rise since2013 and unprotected intercourse is still the most common way of HIV infectionin Vietnam.
Manychallenges remain for HIV/AIDS control in the country largely owing to the lackof funding, said Dr. Hoang Dinh Canh, deputy head of the Vietnam Administrationof HIV/AIDS Control.
Ithas resulted in ineffective harm reduction intervention and communicationactivities, meanwhile, the number of people receiving Methadone and ARVtreatment barely increased, he added.
Untilthe end of this year, the HIV/AIDS control authority plans to continue rampingup communication campaigns on HIV/AIDS control and prevention with the focus onpreventing exposure to HIV, early HIV tests, early ARV treatment and invitingmore people to join health insurance schemes, Canh noted.
Thehealth sector will also increase health workers at HIV “hotspots” in remoteareas and foster HIV tests at prisons.-VNA
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