Vietnam has reported more than 1,500 new HIV infections this year, with the outbreak worsening among women.
New figures from the Health Ministry showed that 34 percent of the new cases reported so far this year have been women, much higher than the usual rate of 15-20 percent, local media reported.
Nguyen Lan Huong from the ministry’s HIV/AIDS Prevention Department said there has been a surge in the number of pregnant women with HIV as well.
She said around 3,000 or 0.12 percent of all pregnant women in the country test positive for HIV every year.
But the local health care system could only afford to provide treatment to prevent infection to the babies for 60 percent of the cases, she said, noting that the treatment is extremely important.
“For every 100 women treated, only seven or eight babies are born with HIV, or even three if the treatment is provided early.”
According to the ministry, a large number of the infected women are sex workers or partners of drug users with HIV.
A survey in Hanoi found that 17 percent of the city's sex workers are HIV-positive, six times the country's average rate and five times higher than the rate in Ho Chi Minh City.
The ministry said nearly 230 people have died of HIV/AIDS so far this year. There are now 300,000 people with HIV/AIDS.
Officials from the ministry said HIV/AIDS prevention in Vietnam is being challenged by recent drops in international funding.