WHO Highlights Solutions To Fight Spread of HIV in Vietnam
Members of a World Health Organization mission to Vietnam on Tuesday highlighted potential measures to fight the spread of HIV in the country, Xinhua/People's Daily reports (Xinhua/People's Daily, 10/11). HIV prevalence in Vietnam is below 0.5%; however, Ho Chi Minh City and Haiphong, Vietnam, have an HIV prevalence greater than 1%, according to a Center for Strategic and International Studies report presented in July in Hanoi, Vietnam (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/1). According to WHO, measures that could help fight the spread of HIV in Vietnam include increasing comprehensive HIV/AIDS treatment, care and support; using behavior change communication to reduce HIV transmission; increasing harm reduction interventions; improving HIV/AIDS program management; and increasing HIV/AIDS case monitoring, supervision and evaluation (Xinhua/People's Daily, 10/10). In addition, Kevin De Cock, director of WHO's HIV/AIDS Department, on Monday said more needs to be done to reach injection drug users and men who have sex with men to prevent a generalized epidemic in the country (AP/International Herald Tribune, 10/10). "Vietnam is truly at a crossroads in the response to the HIV epidemic," De Cock said, adding, "Whether the epidemic can be controlled within at-risk population, such as [IDUs] and sex workers, or whether it will spread further into the general population will be down to the response to these challenges." According to WHO, efforts to rapidly increase access to antiretroviral drugs with financial commitments from foreign donors and the government have been initiated. Vietnam by 2010 aims to provide antiretrovirals to 70% of HIV-positive people who need them and reduce HIV prevalence to below 0.3%, according to WHO (Xinhua/People's Daily, 10/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.