Increasing HIV infection cases resulting from unsafe sex have become a pressing issue in the southern region, urging the implementation of drastic measures by local authorities, the Ho Chi Minh City Pasteur Institute reported at a conference in the southern city on February 11.

The percentage of new HIV infections from unsafe sex escalated from 28.2 in 2007 to 61.3 percent in 2014 in 20 southern provinces and cities. The rate reached 70.3 percent in the southwestern region.

The institute urged local health authorities to intensify monitoring measures and change their approach to prevention. It also proposed that rules be issued on regular heath checks for groups at high-risk of infection such as prostitutes and gay men.

Meanwhile, Phan Thi Thu Huong, Vice Director of the Health Ministry’s HIV/AIDS Prevention Department, said local medical units should enhance monitoring and early treatment activities.

She suggested organising additional awareness campaigns on safe sex in the region in light of the local situation.

Statistics from the Pasteur Institute showed that by the end of 2014, there were 98,500 HIV carriers and 38,800 AIDS patients living in the southern region. Total fatalities from HIV/AIDS in the region came to 29,520.

According to the Ministry of Health, Vietnam currently has around 260,000 HIV carriers and some 12,000 new HIV infections are detected each year. Of the HIV positive people, only nearly 90,000 are receiving antiretroviral (ARV) treatment.-VNA