Vietnam has discovered 5,500 more people living with HIV since the beginning of this year, according to an official of the Department of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control.

This was revealed by Director of the Health Ministry's Department of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Nguyen Hoang Long at a meeting last week in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue.

The meeting, which was attended by experts from the Ministry of Health and departments of health from 63 provinces and cities, summed up HIV/AIDS prevention and control measures during the first six months of this year and set up plan for the remaining months.

The country gave Methadone treatment to more than 31,000 patients and administered antiretroviral (ARV) to nearly 96,000 ones during this period of time.

As many as 28 out of 63 provinces and cities have approved a plan to ensure funds for HIV/AIDS prevention and control measures.

Long noted that HIV/AIDS preventive measures in the past months saw some limitations as the number of condoms and injection needles delivered free-of-charge decreased compared with the same period last year. Only 38 percent of the expected number of people received Methadone and 35 provinces and cities did not approve plans for funding HIV/AIDS prevention and control measures.

Long has proposed a plan for the last six months of this year, including expanding treatment and prevention services, improving treatment with Methadone and ARV, increasing HIV discovery, and completing a plan for supplying ARV.

Addressing the event, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long highly appreciated the achievements of the Department of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control in the past years.

Statistics of the Ministry of Health showed that during the 2001-15 period, the country saved 150,000 people living with HIV from fatalities and saved 10,000 children from being transmitting HIV from their mothers.

Deputy Minister Long has asked all relevant bodies to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention and focus on prevention as the main measure.

Treatment with ARV should be improved to ensure that 90 percent of the people living with HIV receive the medicine.

HIV tests should be expanded so that 90 percent of the people living with HIV are aware of their condition.

The system of HIV/AIDS prevention and control centres should be developed to supply diversified services, he stressed.

Ministries, sectors, social organisations, and communication enterprises should join hands in these efforts, he added.-VNA