A bilateral conference on cross-border HIV/AIDS prevention in Vietnam and Laos took place in Hanoi on September 30.

The event’s objective was to address the difficulties and challenges in HIV/AIDS prevention and control in the two countries’ bordering localities; to review the implementation of signed memoranda of understanding and agreements in this field; and to discuss an action plan for the near future.

Speaking at the conference, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said the increase in transnational activities in the Vietnamese-Lao border area, including drug trafficking, trade and labour migration, was increasing the risk of HIV/AIDS infections for those living and working there.

There is therefore a need to develop a coordination mechanism for the two countries, such as detailed cooperation plans at the national and provincial level.

The two sides were urged to speed up the exchange of information on the situation of HIV/AIDS in each country and identify factors behind the increased rates of HIV infections in border areas.

During the conference, the HIV/AIDS Prevention Department under the Vietnamese Ministry of Health and the Lao Ministry of Health’s Centre for HIV/AIDS and STI Prevention and Control signed a memorandum of understanding on the basic principles for bilateral cooperation to minimise the impact of HIV/AIDS and increase access to preventive healthcare and treatment in their border areas.-VNA