Vietnamese City To Launch Methadone Program To Reduce Spread of HIV Among IDUs
Health officials in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, plan to launch a methadone program modeled after one in Hong Kong in an effort to reduce the spread of HIV among injection drug users, the South China Morning Post reports. Le Truong Giang, deputy director of Ho Chi Minh City's health service, said that groups from Vietnam are in Hong Kong studying the program.
According to the Morning Post, HIV in Ho Chi Minh City largely is concentrated among high-risk groups, such as IDUs and commercial sex workers. A needle-exchange program already is in operation, and the new methadone program will be the first in the country. The World Health Organization and the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief are funding the program.
Giang said there could be "a lot of problems and complications" among the 10,000 IDUs in the city who have completed detoxification programs. He added that about 3% begin using injection drugs again after returning to the community. "I understand the percentage will increase," Giang said, adding that the methadone program will be implemented by the end of this year to encourage people who have returned from detoxifcation programs from reusing or sharing needles (Benitez, South China Morning Post, 9/5).