Methadone therapy is administered to drug users (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Health experts debated measures to effect HIV/AIDS prevention efforts in the country, stressing the need to expand preventive activities, Methadone therapy, anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment, and open bidding for drug supplies.

In their discussions at a conference to review HIV/AIDS prevention held in Hanoi on January 14, participants gave proposals to mobilise resources for the work, as well as how to maximise the efficiency of communication campaigns in the field.

According to reports from the Department of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Methadone therapy for drug addicts was strongly implemented in 239 treatment centre, across 57 provinces and cities in 2015, benefiting 43,000 people living with HIV/AIDS.

Meanwhile, ARV treatment was carried out in 325 treatment centres and 562 medical stations in all the 63 provinces and cities.

HIV/AIDS communication campaigns in 2015 helped raise awareness for around 10 million targeted people, a year-on-year rise of nearly 3 million.

Programmes to distribute free syringes and injection needles to drug - injecting addicts were arranged in 53 localities in the year, while the distribution of condoms to high-risk groups was organised in 50 provinces and cities.

The country is now home to 1,000 test laboratories serving HIV screening and 100 others for confirming HIV-positive cases, 86 CD4 cell count facilities (the number of white blood cells in a cubic millimetre of blood), and six viral load testing facilities.

HIV/AIDS is a major health burden in Vietnam, said General Director of the Department of HIV/AIDS Prevention Nguyen Hoang Long.

He noted that over 254,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS in Vietnam and they need regular treatment, but resources for the work remains limited as this mainly depends on international aid, which continues to fall.

This results in the coverage of HIV/AIDS prevention services being restricted, Long stressed.

The conference heard that about 12,000-14,000 new cases are reported every year. Unprotected sex is the leading reason behind the increased rate of HIV carriers.-VNA