HHS Secretary Leavitt Meets With Health Officials in Vietnam To Discuss Health Issues, Including HIV/AIDSHHS Secretary Mike Leavitt on Thursday met with health officials in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to discuss health issues, including HIV/AIDS, Thanhnien News reports. Leavitt was in Vietnam as part of a five-day Southeast Asia trip to assess U.S. collaborative efforts with other countries to reduce the spread of infectious diseases.
Vietnam has received about $86 million in President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief funding this year -- nearly a fivefold increase from 2004 -- according to Thanhnien News. Part of the funding has been used to develop a no-cost methadone program that aims to reduce the number of HIV/AIDS cases that are transmitted through injection drug use, Le Truong Giang, vice chair of Ho Chi Minh City's AIDS Committee and vice director of its health department, said. Giang said that the program, which will begin next month, plans to provide treatment to 750 opiate drug users in three pilot districts. He added that if successful, the program could be expanded throughout the country.
Karl White, a member of Leavitt's delegation and the Substance Abuse Adviser to Vietnam, said methadone -- approved for more than 40 years to treat U.S. heroin users -- has kept 60% to 65% of those treated from relapsing (Le, Thanhnien News, 4/18). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.