Vietnam HIV/AIDS Prevention Department To Target General Population, Youth
Vietnam's Ministry of Health on Tuesday announced that its HIV/AIDS prevention department plans to widen its education program to include the country's general population, specifically young people, in an attempt to change the public's attitude and behavior regarding the disease by 2010, Vietnam News Agency reports. According to the prevention department, as many as 95% of HIV-positive people in the country are ages 15 to 49, 50% are ages 20 to 29 and 8% are teenagers (Vietnam News Agency, 3/20). According to a recent survey, awareness about HIV/AIDS in Vietnam is low. The survey found that about 65.9% of young people gave incorrect answers about HIV prevention methods and that 46.6% of men used condoms during their first sexual experience. In addition, the survey found that discrimination and stigma against people living with and affected by HIV is prevalent. According to Chu Quoc An, vice head of the department, the program will shift from targeting only high-risk groups to focusing on the country's general population. Chu added that the primary targets of the program will be HIV-positive people and their relatives, drug users, commercial sex workers, and people living with sexually transmitted infections and their partners. The program also aims to provide knowledge about HIV prevention to 90% of urban residents and 70% of rural residents ages 15 to 49 by 2010. It also aims to provide treatment and counseling to all HIV-positive pregnant women and children and 90% of other people living with HIV/AIDS. The budget for the program accounts for 25% to 30%, or about $27 million, of total spending for HIV/AIDS prevention and control efforts in 2007, the Vietnam News Brief Service reports (Vietnam News Brief Service, 3/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.