Vietnam faces big deficit in HIV/AIDS funding hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
 Da Nang, (VNA) - Vietnam will face a huge budget deficit in health services for people with HIV/AIDS in the next five years, an official from the HIV/AIDS Prevention Agency, Duong Thuy Anh, said at a conference on insurance payments for ARV therapy on November 28.

Anh said the State budget could only reserve 100 billion VND (4.4 million USD) for antiretroviral (ARV) therapy in 2016-20, but the demand is for about 600 billion VND (27 million USD).

She said most people with HIV/AIDS cannot afford prolonged use of ARV and other drugs for opportunistic infections.

Anh said that was why Government and various agencies have been conducting discussions on implementation of the Prime Minister’s decision on payment for ARV and support for ARV users through health insurance.

“Only 40 percent of people with HIV/AIDS have enrolled in social health insurance, while 72 out of 385 (18.7 percent) of health service centres provided payment for HIV/AIDS patients through insurance,” Anh said.

“The decision will help people with HIV access health service and treatment, through different sources, including a fund for the poor,” she said.

In some places, AIDS patients had received support through flexible policies of the local administration.

Tran Truong Minh, from Vinh Phuc Province’s insurance, said the northern province has allocated funds from donations and other sources to enable HIV/AIDS patients to get treatment free of charge.

He said people with HIV/AIDS still hesitate to get treatment at health centres due to fear of discrimination.

Deputy Minister of Heath, Nguyen Thanh Long, said the Prime Minister’s decision will make a big change for people with HIV/AIDS.

“Vietnam has followed the target over past nine years, and committed to complete the ’Zero to HIV/AIDS’ campaign by 2030,” Long said.

“The country has been seeking a flexible paying mechanism to ensure that 80 percent of HIV/AIDS patients enroll in health insurance by the end of 2017 and 100 percent in 2018,” Long said.

He said the Health Insurance Fund will cover full payment of health services and ARV for 90 percent of people with HIV/AIDS in 2018.

He said 90,000 have died and 230,000 live with the disease.

Meanwhile, about 10,000 new cases of HIV/AIDS are diagnosed each year.

Long also asked provincial health centres to provide drugs for HIV/AIDS patients from the Insurance Fund starting next July.

The deputy minister also said the ministry plans to provide health insurance for prisoners with HIV/AIDS and offenders at rehabilitation centres.

Last month, the city and the Vietnam Health Improvement Project (VNHIP) inked a new agreement on health care for kids with HIV/AIDS in the city in 2017-21, with total funding of 150,000 USD.

Vietnam hopes to reduce the number of people with HIV to 0.3 percent by 2020.

The country has committed to the global goal of Zero new HIV infections Zero discrimination, Zero AIDS-related deaths, Long concluded.-VNA