An HIV patient in Hanoi receives ARV treatment (Photo: VNA)
 
Hanoi (VNA) – A workshop on a national campaign aiming to raise public awareness of HIV/AIDS as a communicable disease which could be prevented and controlled took place in Hanoi on August 6.

According to Assoc. Prof., Dr Nguyen Hoang Long, head of the Vietnam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control under the Ministry of Health, when levels of HIV virus in the blood of patients under Antiretrovaral (ARV) treatment are undetectable, the risk of HIV transmission via sexual activities remains very low or negligible.

Therefore, the “Undetectable=Untransmittable” campaign is built on a new scientific discovery affirming the benefit of ARV treatment for HIV patients, he added.

It is hoped to erase discrimination against people living with the virus and encourage them to stick with the treatment.

However, Long noted that the finding is only applicable for the prevention of transmission through sexual activities, not for sharing injection equipment.

The national campaign will be launched in major localities listed in the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief – (PEPFAR), namely Quang Ninh, Hai Phong, Thai Nguyen and Hanoi in the north and Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Long An, Binh Duong, Ho Chi Minh City, Tay Ninh, Tien Giang and Dong Nai in the south.

Currently, Vietnam has 230,000 people living with HIV, 20 percent of them in HCM City.

It is alarming that while HIV infections are reduced significantly in high-risk groups such as drug addicts (from 29-30 percent to 9-10 percent) and sex workers (from 5 percent to 3.4 percent), the rate is rising in the group of men having sex with men (from 7.4 percent to 11.4 percent), according to 2018 statistics.-VNA