Illustrative photo (Source: VNA)

Son La (VNA) – The northwest mountainous province of Son La, with the high number of drug addicts in the region, has been active in preventing HIV/AIDS infections.

Son La has worked with the HIV/AIDS Prevention Division under the Health Ministry on enhancing HIV testing at district level.

The locality has also developed a dozen methadone-treatment centres and eight methadone distributing facilities, supporting 1,170 patients in rural areas, particularly among ethnic minority groups.

In June, five more facilities will be put into operation. About 3,300 AIDS patients will receive anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long urged authorities and agencies at all levels and experts to work together to tackle HIV/AIDS.

He also called on the locality to develop more methadone-treatment facilities at communal level.

According to the Steering Committee for the Northwest region, as of March 2016, the region had 63,597 people living with HIV/AIDS, accounting for nearly 27 percent of the national number. An average of 3,000 new HIV patients is recorded each year.

Methadone therapy has been applied across 91 centres across the region, benefiting 15,385 patients. However, ARV treatment has reached only 51.6 percent of AIDS sufferers in the region.

In Son La, as of April this year, there are 5,034 HIV-infected people.

An additional 90 HIV-infected cases were recorded in the first four months of this year. Most of them are aged from 20 to 39.-VNA