A meeting was held in Hanoi on November 30 in response to the National Action Month for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control, which lasts from November 10 to December 10 under the theme “No stigma and discrimination against people infected with HIV/AIDS”.

Addressing the event, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said stigmatising and discriminating against HIV/AIDS patients are common all over the world, which have restricted the fundamental human rights of the patients such as the rights of receiving healthcare services and education, while increasing the risk of spreading the virus in society.

He called on individuals to get rid of the false beliefs on the disease. Many still falsely believes that the disease can be transmitted through direct contact like sharing household utensils, while others associate HIV/AIDS with drug abuse and prostitution.

According to the Ministry of Health, Vietnam currently has around 224,000 HIV-infected patients, and just more than half of them know about their HIV positive status. Around 10,000 new HIV infections are detected each year.

The 2014 theme demonstrates the Vietnamese Government’s commitment to the fight towards the goal of eliminating HIV/ AIDS by 2030.

The country has reaped significant achievements in the field. Notably, the methadone treatment programme has reached 38 provinces and cities with 122 treatment facilities, benefiting 22,000 HIV patients.-VNA