UCSF Opens HIV/AIDS Clinic in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City
Researchers from the University of California-San Francisco's HIV/AIDS program in November opened a clinic in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to help prevent the spread of the virus into the general population, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports. An estimated 40,000 Vietnamese -- mostly sex workers and intravenous drug users -- have HIV and experts predict that as many as 190,000 could become infected by 2005 if further prevention measures are not taken. "Most of our efforts have targeted high-risk populations such as young people, commercial sex workers and injection drug users, to teach people to behave responsibly," Dr. Le Truong Giang of Ho Chi Minh City, San Francisco's sister city, explained. Giang, who recently visited San Francisco to learn about prevention techniques, said that needle-exchange and condom-distribution programs are "rare" in Vietnam and few people have access to antiretroviral drugs. The new UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies clinic is providing HIV testing, counseling and referral services to Ho Chi Minh City residents. The center has so far tested about 40 people, 15% of whom tested HIV-positive. Most of those volunteering to be tested were men who had had sex with prostitutes. "It tells me we're reaching the high-risk population. It's rewarding actually seeing the population you're working with, and the positive aspects of what we do," Debbie Bain, the clinic's co-coordinator, said, adding that "HIV counseling in Ho Chi Minh City has been almost nonexistent up to now" (AP/Contra Costa Times, 1/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.