Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has emphasised the need to enhance education and communication work to raise public awareness of HIV/AIDS, drugs and prostitution prevention and control.

This is extremely difficult work, especially with the State budget allocation and official development assistance (ODA) falling since the beginning of the year, noted Dam, who is Chairman of the National Committee for Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS, Drugs and Prevention.

Therefore, he said, officials in charge should make more effort to mobilise all resources for the fight against these social problems at a meeting of the committee in Hanoi on June 13 to review work in the first half of the year and set tasks for the second half.

HIV/AIDS, drugs and prostitution prevention should be included in meetings and cultural exchanges at high schools to raise awareness of students, one of the most vulnerable groups, he added.

The Deputy PM urged the Ministry of Public Security to collaborate with agencies and mass organisations in counting the number of addicts nationwide. Meanwhile, the Health Ministry was asked to consider new medicines to be used in detoxification besides Methadone.

Dam also requested localities to urgently map out financial options for the implementation of a project on detoxification renovation by 2020.

According to a report released by the committee, since the beginning of the year, the country has recorded 3,133 HIV-infected cases, 1,388 AIDS cases and 462 deaths from the disease.

The virus is spreading in major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, especially among the high-risk groups of male prostitutes and drug addicts.

Drug crimes and prostitution continued to make complex developments. It is estimated that there are over 25,680 prostitutes in the country, mainly in the Red River Delta, the northern central and southeastern regions, and the Mekong Delta.

As many as 478 models to prevent prostitution and support former sex workers to reintegrate into the community have been piloted in 40 provinces and cities.

Competent agencies have detected many transnational drug rings with large volumes of narcotics. More than 32,000 drug addicts have been detoxified at centres, while nearly 3,580 people have received vocational training and 860 others have been provided with jobs after their treatment.-VNA