A project funded by the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) was launched on August 5 in Ho Chi Minh City with the aim of supporting HIV prevention in the southern region.

The project will be implemented in Ho Chi Minh City and the two Mekong Delta localities of Can Tho and An Giang in two years, focusing on strengthening the supply of community-based services for HIV patients.

Each year, it will benefit 6,000 targeted people, including 4,000 in high risk of HIV infection such as drug users and prostitutes, and 2,000 people living with HIV in the three localities. It is also expected to help develop community-based organisations involved in this field and boost the coordination between provincial and national agencies.

US Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Rena Bitter expressed hope that the project will offer an effective approach in detecting HIV-infected cases and connecting vulnerable groups with healthcare services.

Ho Chi Minh City now is home to more than 49,500 HIV patients, nearly half of whom have developed to AIDS stage. In 2013, the city recorded 1,733 new infections, a remarkable decrease compared with over 4,700 cases reported in 2008.-VNA