U.S. Official Announces $25M in 2005 PEPFAR Funding for Vietnam
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick on Friday during a two-day visit to Hanoi, Vietnam, said the United States in 2005 will provide $25 million to Vietnam under the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, Xinhuanet reports (Xinhuanet, 5/6). PEPFAR is a five-year, $15 billion program that directs funding for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria to 15 focus countries (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/20). Speaking during a visit to Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi -- which houses Vietnam's largest facility for HIV/AIDS testing and treatment -- Zoellick said the funding primarily will be used to purchase antiretroviral drugs, implement prevention efforts, and provide care for HIV-positive people and others affected by the disease (Xinhuanet, 5/6). Zoellick also was scheduled to visit Vietnam's National Institute of Tropical Medicine to discuss U.S. assistance for the country's fight against HIV/AIDS (Agence France-Presse, 5/5). According to Vietnam's Ministry of Health, approximately 245,000 people in the country were HIV-positive at the end of 2003, but international health experts have said that the number could increase to more than one million by 2010 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/26). Zoellick also announced that President Bush is scheduled to meet with Vietnam's Prime Minister Phan Van Khai on June 21, the AP/Yahoo! News reports (AP/Yahoo! News, 5/6).
Many Vietnamese Officials Unaware of HIV/AIDS Threat, Study Says
Many local Vietnamese officials are unaware of the threat HIV/AIDS poses and have not implemented prevention campaigns, according to a recent study by the Community Health Development Research Center, Vietnam News Service reports. An instruction issued by the national Party Central Committee in 1995 required all local officials to coordinate with relevant sectors to implement HIV/AIDS prevention campaigns, as well as invest resources to improve the capacity of prevention workers. However, the study -- which surveyed local officials in 60 of the 64 cities and provinces nationwide -- found that only 10 provinces and cities believed the local HIV/AIDS epidemic is at a "critical level" and 45 of the provinces and cities said the epidemic is at a "moderate level," according to the Vietnam News Service. In the Quang Ninh and Khanh Hoa provinces, which have the highest number of HIV-positive people of any province in the country, 26.3% of local officials surveyed said HIV/AIDS only affects people in high-risk groups, such as commercial sex workers and injection drug users, according to the Vietnam News Service. In addition, only 35.4% of respondents in the two provinces were familiar with HIV prevention measures, even though 98% of them were aware of how HIV is transmitted (Vietnam News Service, 5/6).