At the ceremony to launch PrEP service (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), which offers up to 92 percent reduction in the risk of contracting HIV if taken consistently, will  be offered on a trial basis to people at high risk, including those in the LGBT community, in Ho Chi Minh City from March 2017 to September 2018.

The information was announced at a ceremony in the city on June 12.

The service will be held by the Vietnam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC) under the Ministry of Health and receive support from the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief through the United States Agency for International Development’s Healthy Markets project.

PrEP will be provided in public clinics in 24 districts, some private healthcare centres and some businesses run by community groups like Galant and Life clinics.

PrEP will be free in the first month for those who need it and it will be sold at 750,000 VND (33 USD) for 30 tablets in the second month. After September 2018, it will cost 1.5 million VND (66 USD).

The organising board will work to ensure PrEP is covered by health insurance, helping the needy access the medicine.

According to Dr. Kimberly Green, Director of the Healthy Markets project, integrating PrEP into HIV prevention services in Vietnam will reduce HIV infection in high risk groups. She said that the pilot programme aims to find the best service model.

VAAC Director Dr. Nguyen Hoang Loang stressed that together with antiretroviral treatment for HIV people, PrEP is expected to help Vietnam eliminate the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030.-VNA