Hanoi needs unanimity and the combined efforts from the whole political system and people to fight against HIV/AIDS, said Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

Phuc, who is also Chairman of the National Committee for AIDS, Drugs and Prostitution Prevention and Control, made the request a t a meeting in Hanoi on December 1 in response to National Action Month for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control and 2012 World AIDS Day.

He said that Hanoi, as the country’s political, economic and cultural centre, has taken the lead in the protection and care of public health, particularly the fight against HIV/AIDS, drugs and prostitution.

With joint effort from the municipal authorities and people, Hanoi no longer finds its name on the list of ten cities with the highest HIV infection rate, he said.

However, the Deputy PM suggested Hanoi should continue to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS prevention as more and more people from other localities immigrate to the city.

Every organisation and individual should be equipped with knowledge on HIV infection prevention, increase support for and fight discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS, he said.

The Deputy PM also acknowledged positive results the country has gained in the fight over the past 20 years, with numbers of new HIV infections and fatalities decreasing over four consecutive years.

He thanked countries’ Governments and people, international organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for their active and effective assistance in Vietnam ’s HIV/AIDS fight.

At the meeting, UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam , Pratibha Mehata, spoke highly of Vietnam ’s efforts to combat HIV/AIDS as well as its determination to prevent discrimination against people infected with HIV.

With a series of important decisions and effective intervention measures, Vietnam has gradually dispelled discrimination against HIV-infected people, becoming a positive example to the region, she said.

According to the Hanoi Health Department, since the first case in 1993, Hanoi has reported more than 20,000 people living with HIV, including over 5,200 AIDS victims./.