Meeting to respond National Action Month for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control

On December 5, Phuoc Son district of Quang Nam province hosted a meeting and parade in response to the National Action Month for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control 2020 and the World AIDS Day.

Due to the complicated situation of the COVID-19 epidemic, delegates and students all wear masks while attending the event. 

Responding National Action Month for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control, Vietnam Health Improvement Projects (VNHIP) and local authorities has launched a meeting and parade to raise community’s awareness of HIV prevention in Phuoc Son - a mountainous district of Quang Nam province. 

This year Action Month will focus on indirect communication activities, focusing on contents such as: Measures to prevent HIV transmission; preventive treatment before and after HIV exposure; benefits of antiretroviral therapy; ARV treatment for newly-infected HIV carriers helps them live healthily and reduce their HIV transmissions; Pregnant women need HIV testing to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission; No discrimination against HIV/AIDS carriers.

Action Month aims to mobilize the participation of leaders, service providers and the entire community in HIV/AIDS prevention and control, achieving the target 90-90-90 (90 percent of people living with HIV know their states; 90 percent of people diagnosed with HIV receive ARV treatment; 90 percent of people on ARV have low viral load control to stay healthy) and Strategy goals of National HIV/AIDS prevention and control to 2020 and vision to 2030, towards ending the AIDS epidemic in Vietnam by 2030; strengthen activities to prevent infection, early test, detect and treat HIV/AIDS; reduce stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and increase family and social support for HIV/AIDS infected people.

Motorbikes with red flags and banners in response to World AIDS Day parade though Phuoc Son streets.

At the event, there were 450 students as well as various departments of the local government got involved in this meaningful event.

This is also an important activity of the project "Increase Access of HIV Information and Care for Hard to Reach and High Risk Groups in Central High Land of Vietnam" funded by Gilead Sciences, recently launched in the district.

The overall goal of this project aims to enable hard-to-reach and high risk groups to access HIV/AIDS information and health care. These groups are drug users, illegal sex workers, gold seekers and ethnic minorities.

Health workers at the district, commune and village levels will be trained to enhance their capacity to provide testing, counselling, diagnosis, treatment, caring and psychology support for HIV patients.

The project also focuses on alleviating HIV/AIDS patients hardship including children infected/affected by HIV/AIDS by improving wells being and quality of lives through supporting vocational training, counselling and livelihood; thereby, contributing to Vietnam' target 90-90-90 and beyond.

The project is managed by the Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control in Quang Nam, from September 2020 to August 2021 with a total cost of more than VND 860 million (about USD 37.000).

Vietnam is considered a bright spot in the world for HIV/AIDS prevention and control, and is one of four countries with the best HIV/AIDS treatment. It is also one of the first countries in the world to have a specific Law on HIV/AIDS.

International support resources have been used effectively for many years.

Reports from the Ministry of Health (MoH) show that Vietnam has kept the HIV infection rate in the community below 0.3 percent, as targeted in the National Strategy on HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control to 2020 with a Vision to 2030.

Regionally, Vietnam posted the largest decline in the number of new HIV infections in 2018 compared to 2010, of 64 percent.

The number of patients under treatment has increased rapidly over the years, with 159,984 HIV carriers undergoing treatment in 446 treatment facilities and 652 drug dispensing facilities as of September 30, 2020. Seventy-six percent of them have access to an ARV therapy programme.

In the national strategy for ending AIDS by 2030, Vietnam targets bringing the number of newly-detected infections to under 1,000 a year, while fatalities linked to HIV/AIDS are to be less than one per 100,000 people. HIV/AIDS will then no longer be a public health concern.

Mai Pham