Vietnam should enhance its national capacity to achieve its target to end HIV/AIDS by 2030 independently rather than rely on international assistance, a conference in Hanoi on September 25 concluded.

The country needed to empower community-based organisations in the field and increase State budget allocations to implement long-term measures, Dr Kristan Schoultz, Country Director of the United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in Vietnam, said.

According to Dr Nguyen Hoang Long, Director of the Vietnam Administration of HIV/AIDS Control, the number of HIV infections remains high, especially in mountainous and ethnic minority communities.

He said international partners had provided up to 80 percent of expenditures to control the disease, but funding for projects was in its final stage or being reduced. Furthermore, the State budget for the fight against HIV/AIDS was cut to 85 billion VND (4.04 million USD) this year from 245 billion VND (11.5 million USD) in 2013.

Participants suggested increasing the capacity of civil society organisations to strengthen prevention efforts at all levels and increase funding for highly-vulnerable groups and regions, with a particular focus on financial sustainability.

Vietnam reported 12,599 new HIV cases in 2013, down by 60 percent since 2007. The number of AIDS patients and fatalities was halved during the 2007-2013 period.-VNA