More than 3,100 people in Vietnam, many of them women, have been found to be infected with HIV so far this year, according to the National Commission on AIDS, Drugs and Prostitution Prevention.
The proportion of women among the infected increased from 24.2 percent in 2007 to more than 32 percent in 2013 and the first half of this year, the agency reported.
So far this year, 1,388 HIV-infected patients developed full-blown AIDS; 462 died of the syndrome.
Nationwide, 286,500 people live with HIV/AIDS; 69,449 have died of the disease since it first broke out here.
Sexually transmitted HIV infections have increased and account for more than 48 percent of total new infections this year, according to the report released at a recent teleconference to review programs designed to reduce public health risks.
During the conference, Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said that although the number of HIV infections dropped, last year, the reductions were unstable.
“HIV/AIDS infections remain high in certain mountainous areas, making prevention activities more difficult,” Tien said.
“Meanwhile, HIV/AIDS infections remain a threat to big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with cross-infections among highly vulnerable groups, including prostitutes and drug users,” she was quoted by the government website as saying.
According to the National Commission on AIDS, Drugs and Prostitution Prevention, prostitution remains “complicated” in the Red River Delta, north-central region, Mekong Delta and southeastern provinces.
The agency estimated that there are nearly 25,700 sex workers, although relevant agencies are monitoring only 6,356 of them.
Minister Tien warned about a possible increase in HIV/AIDS infections due to smaller budgetary contributions from private entities and dwindling investment from the state exchequer.
At the conference, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said that although Vietnam has made progress in tackling HIV-infections, drug use and prostitution further progress will prove difficult due to financial difficulties.
“If we do not have a proper view of the situation and remain determined to take preventive measures, a surge in drug-use, prostitution and HIV/AIDS could recur, causing great consequences,” he said.
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