The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched a two-year project to improving community response to HIV on Tuesday in Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho and An Giang Province.
The “USAID Community HIV Link-Southern” project focuses on strengthening the ability of local organizations to reach the most at-risk populations and link them with appropriate HIV services, the US Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City said in a statement.
The project will be implemented by the Center for Promotion of Quality of Life (LIFE) with funding from the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to deliver effective community-based HIV/AIDS services to 4,000 high-risk people, including injecting drug users, female sex workers, men who have sex with men and 2,000 people living with HIV.
Rena Bitter, US General Consul in Ho Chi Minh City said that Community HIV Link project will create an effective approach for HIV case finding and connecting vulnerable populations to healthcare.
“We are equally confident in the leadership of the Ho Chi MInh City AIDS Committee. Their expertise and dedication are vital to ensure community organizations complement national, provincial and local HIV strategies.”
At a conference organized to launch the project, Tieu Thi Thu Van, spokesperson for the city’s AIDS Committee, said the city is a “hotspot” of HIV/AIDs as it is a center of migrants, including international migrants.
“The city has more than 59,000 people infected with HIV since the first case in 1990, of which 49,581 are alive,” she said.
Van said HIV infection through sex has increased, particularly among men who have sex with men and sex workers.