Around 750,000 people, including drug users, homosexuals and sex workers have received HIV prevention treatment under the 44-million USD Community Reach Programme.

The programme's peer educators handed out free condoms and persuaded those at high-risk to accept HIV testing.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese social organisations have provided vocational training courses to young people living with the disease.

The five-year programme has been implemented by Pact Vietnam – a non-governmental organisation with funding from the United States Agency for International Development.

The initiative, kicked off in September 2006, concentrates on five priority provinces including An Giang, Dien Bien, Lao Cai, Nghe An and Quang Ninh as well as the four cities of Hanoi, HCM City, Hai Phong and Can Tho.

It aims to enhance the scale, quality and effectiveness of the response by the organisations to HIV/AIDS in Vietnam , through supporting comprehensive prevention, care, support and treatment interventions, and creating a supportive social and policy environment

These localities are the country's largest urban centres, business ports and mountain provinces affected by cross-border drug trading, said PACT's HIV&Health Advisor Pham Thanh Hang.

Around 62,000 people living with HIV, as well as their family members, have benefited from the programme's home-based care.

It is estimated that 4,000 people living with HIV have received antiretroviral treatment.-VNA