A 2-million USD project was launched in the northern port city of Hai Phong on March 16 to promote community connections in preventing and combating HIV/AIDS in northern coastal localities.

Funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the project aims to increase preventive health services and community-based care for people living with HIV/AIDS and contribute to realising the national programme for fighting the disease.

Apart from Hai Phong, the seven-year project also covers Quang Ninh and Nghe An province.

Targeted groups include drug users who have not been tested for HIV in six months, people living with HIV who have not registered for outpatient treatment or have failed to follow treatment schedules, sex workers who use drugs, the sexual partners of people living with HIV, and drug users.

The project’s objectives include improving preventive medicine services and care for people living with HIV/AIDS and increasing the capacity of the target groups.

In Hai Phong, 6,705 people are expected to benefit from the project, with 6,034 people tested for HIV.

To fulfil the target, the project will establish a network of community support staff, enhance communications to raise awareness among the target group and supply mobile testing and patient record services.

Hai Phong is one of the country’s most vulnerable localities in HIV/AIDS prevention and control. The city is believed to have about 11,000 people living with HIV with only 7,300 are currently receiving community-based care and treatment.-VNA