A doctor gives consultation to a patient living with HIV (Photo:VNA)
 

HCM City (VNA) – Experts have gathered at a forum in Ho Chi Minh City to seek ways to help local men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people access HIV-related health care services.

The event was jointly organised on November 7 by the Centre for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control under the municipal Department of Health, the Vietnam Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in southern region (VNP+) and the PATH-funded Healthy Markets Project.

The forum, part of activities to mark the 25th anniversary of the HIV/AIDS prevention and fight work in Vietnam in general and in the city in particular, aims to reduce discrimination against MSM and transgender people.

Doctor Tieu Thi Thu Van from the Centre called on the community to eliminate stigma and discrimination against MSM and transgender people, and help them integrate into the society and access HIV-related health care services.

Changing attitudes towards MSM and transgender people would contribute to implementing commitments on HIV/AIDS prevention and fight Vietnam has made to the United Nations, looking towards an end of HIV/AIDS by 2030, Van said.

A number of real stories heard at the forum showed that discrimination prevents them from approaching health care services.

Nguyen Anh Phong, a representative of the VNP+ said MSM and transgender people themselves should have a healthy lifestyle to eliminate the discrimination among their families and the society.

According to the VNP+, the city is home to roughly 30,000 MSM and transgender people, who are highly vulnerable to HIV infection. The infection rate in the urban area is estimated at 16 percent in MSM, and 18 percent in transgender people.-VNA