Vietnam sees drops in new HIV infections for 10th consecutive year hinh anh 1Doctors of the centre for HIV/AIDS prevention and control in northern Vinh Phuc province provide ARV care for a woman . (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA)
– Vietnam saw decreases in the number of new HIV infections, people living with AIDS and AIDS-related fatalities for the tenth consecutive year in 2017, according to the Ministry of Health.

More than 209,400 people are living with HIV nationwide, including more than 90,100 cases of HIV developing into full-blown AIDS, and about 94,600 people have died of HIV/AIDS so far. The country’s HIV/AIDS prevalence among the population remains below 0.3 percent.

Last year, the country recorded about 9,800 people newly infected with HIV and 1,800 deaths due to HIV, down 1.1 percent and 15 percent, respectively, from 2016. The number of people contracting AIDS also declined by 39 percent.

Vietnam intensified efforts to prevent HIV/AIDS last year, paving the way for the expansion and improved quality of HIV/AIDS treatment. A total of 294 methadone detoxification facilities were opened nationwide, treating some 52,800 drug users. Methadone medication was also offered at 216 commune-based healthcare establishments in 23 provinces.

The Ministry of Health has started to provide Buprenorphine treatment and it plans to bring the medication to drug addicts in the mountainous provinces of Dien Bien, Lai Chau, Son La and Nghe An this year.

The ministry has set up 401 anti-retroviral (ARV) clinics providing outpatient care for people living with HIV/AIDS, while ARV drugs are also available in 562 medical stations and prisons. ARV therapy was covered by health insurance from January onwards.

The number of HIV/AIDS carriers joining health insurance rose from 50 percent in October 2016 to 82 percent in September last year.

Community-based HIV testing and counselling have been scaled up in 15 cities and provinces while oral HIV self-testing has been also piloted at community-based organisations.

In addition, the ministry has given away about 28 million needles to some 126,000 drug users and 21 million condoms to drug addicts, prostitutes, men who have sex with men and spouses and partners of HIV carriers.

This year, the ministry will continue implementing the National Strategy on HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control with the focus on keeping the HIV prevalence under 0.3 percent in meeting the United Nations’ 90-90-90 Goals by 2020.-VNA