Counseling and monitoring are offered at the Preventive Health Centre for people at risk of HIV infection in HCM City’s district 6.(Source: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) - HCM City targets a serious reduction in the number of AIDS cases by 2030, according to the city’s Health Department.

Nguyen Huu Hung, deputy director of the city’s Department of Health was quoted by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper as saying that the city had been selected by the Vietnam Administration of HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC) as one of five pilot cities to reach the target by 2030.

The UN Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has chosen the city as one of the largest fast-track cities in the world achieving its 90-90-90 targets set by the UN in 2014.

The 90-90-90 goals mean that by 2020 90 percent of HIV-infected people will know their infection status, 90 percent of HIV positive people will receive anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs, and 90 percent of people taking ARV drugs will have a low HIV load.

HCM City is expected to reach its 90-90-90 target ahead of schedule.
According to the latest report from the city’s HIV/AIDS Prevention Centre, the city has so far achieved 73-75-96 targets, compared to the 90-90-90 target.

In recent years, international support for AIDS/HIV has been declining, so the city has tried to ensure that there will be no interruptions in HIV/AIDS prevention by issuing new policies to maintain ARV for an HIV patient’s entire life and to limit drug resistance and spread of the disease.

The city continues to provide HIV treatment for patients, including paying 100 percent for health insurance cards for people who cannot afford to buy them and 20 percent of ARV treatment for HIV-infected people over a six-month period.

Methadone treatment for patients addicted to drugs is also supported by the city.

Dr Hoang Dinh Canh, deputy director of the Vietnam Authority of HIV/AIDS Control under health ministry, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that the city has about 125,000 patients with HIV/AIDS receiving ARV treatment.

This figure represents about 50 percent of the estimated total figure of people living with HIV in the country.

However, he warned that AIDS could spread among people not yet exposed to HIV. The estimated number could be about 50,000 people, especially among five groups: transgender people, gay men, users of drug injections, people working away from home, and prostitutes.

"Vietnam is adopting the latest international models of HIV prevention, but it is necessary to have new peers to prevent spread to these five groups,” he said.

With ARV drugs and many other efforts, many experts say that people living with HIV can live for 50 years from the date of infection, he said.

The first person diagnosed with HIV in the country in 1992 is alive and well.

This year, health insurance began covering the costs of treating opportunistic infections.

By 2020, 80 percent ARV drug costs will be covered by health insurance.-VNA