HIV/AIDS sufferers in the capital and neighbouring provinces can receive free medical treatment at the Infectious Disease Department of Hanoi's Dong Da Hospital.

The free treatment is being provided under a joint collaboration project on HIV prevention and care carried out by the US and Vietnam since 2002. The programme includes provision of anti-retro viral (ARV) medicine and other medicines for HIV-infected people free of charge.

The department has provided treatment to 881 sufferers, among them 770 are receiving ARV medicine.

Receiving their first case of HIV/AIDS in 1997, the department has become one of the country's leading health care centres for treating the disease, which is causing growing concerns in Vietnam. The department has allocated 20 beds for HIV/AIDS carriers who are suffering from infections.

The Infectious Disease Department's director, Dr Pham Ba Hien, said cases that do not respond to treatment will undergo further tests to identify the cause of resistance.

National and international experts often exchange knowledge with the department's staff to help them improve work on diagnosing different cases.

A hotline for HIV/AIDS carriers and their families is available at 04 3511 8752.-VNA