The Ministry of Health, in conjunction with the People’s Committee of Can Tho city, held a meeting on November 24 to respond to the 2012 World AIDS Day (December 1), with the participation of 3,000 local people.

Earlier this month, a National Action Month for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control was launched under the motto, “Towards No New HIV Infections”, with the aim to raise awareness and encourage people to join in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Speaking at the event, Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long stressed that the National Strategy on HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control considers HIV/AIDS still a major risk to people’s health and lives, as well as the nation’s future.

In the last 20 years, Vietnam has made all efforts to prevent and control HIV/AIDS and achieved remarkable successes, such as curbing the spread of HIV transmission.

However, the spread of HIV continues in an unpredictable way, which can lead to further outbreaks if no effective measures are taken. There have been increases in infection between sexually active partners and transmissions from mother to child.

Local people’s knowledge of HIV/AIDS and measures to prevent the disease remains poor, especially those in remote areas, and many people still discriminate against suffers of the disease.

Statistics from the Department for AIDS Prevention under the Ministry of Health shows that Vietnam now has 206,435 HIV carriers. In the first nine months of this year, the nation detected 8,560 new cases of HIV infection.

Director of the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in Vietnam, Tony E. Lisle, said that the international community applauds Vietnam’s efforts and creativeness to bring down HIV/AIDS in a sustainable manner. He affirmed that UNAIDS and other international organisations will stand side-by-side with Vietnam to prevent and drive down the disease through different measures.-VNA