Despite Vietnam’s efforts in HIV/AIDS prevention and control, the pandemic has been changing complicatedly with high numbers of infected people.

According to the Administration of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control (VAAC), as of September 30, there are 218,427 people living with HIV in Vietnam , including 65,729 AIDS patients. The deadly virus also killed 66,116 people nationwide.

In the first nine months of this year, the country saw an average of 43 new infections every day, the administration added.

Meanwhile, the proportion of women suffering from HIV has increased through the years. The number of HIV infections through sexual transmission is surpassing those from blood transmission, it said.

Apart from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi , HIV/AIDS patients are concentrated in northwestern mountainous provinces, western localities of the central Thanh Hoa and Nghe An provinces, and several southwestern provinces.

Bui Hoang Duc, VAAC deputy head, said the HIV pandemic has reduced in recent years, with declining numbers of both cases and infected ratio in high-risk groups, but still at high levels.

Particularly, an increasing number of cases has been seen in partners of drug addicts recently, he said.

Discrimination against HIV/AIDS patients has also hindered their access to treatment and healthcare services, while making it difficult to early detect new cases, Duc added.

The 2013 National Action Month for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control launched on November 10 will focus on organising conferences and seminars to seek measures to reduce the risk of infection in vulnerable groups.

In addition, meetings will be held with vulnerable people to persuade them to act safely and approach healthcare services and HIV/AIDS treatment as soon as possible.

During the month, authorised agencies will also coordinate with the Border Guards in remote and mountainous areas to strengthen communications on HIV/AIDS prevention among people from ethnic minority groups.-VNA