Vietnam urges donors to stay supportive to prevent HIV spread

Thanh Nien News

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A woman receives HIV prevention consultancy. Photo credit: VietnamPlus A woman receives HIV prevention consultancy. Photo credit: VietnamPlus

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Vietnam is asking international organizations to maintain their support for HIV treatment and prevention in the country to prevent an increase in infections after some success.
A report from the Ministry of Health at a meeting Wednesday said new HIV infections in Vietnam have dropped from 18,000 in 2010 to around 10,000 last year.
Annual deaths linked to the infections fell more than 37 percent to around 2,000 over the same period.
The report said various campaigns and policies also helped ease discrimination against people with HIV, without providing relevant statistics.
Representatives from the health ministry said Vietnam just begins to contain the spread of the HIV virus and still faces big challenges, including a lack of funding.
International funds for HIV/AIDS prevention in Vietnam has gone down quickly in recent years, causing problems in maintaining adequate and qualified staff, they said.
They said the Vietnamese government will continue to spend more on this area. But Vietnam will not be able to fight it alone. Without external support, there will be a rise in infections, they said.
Women now account for 34 percent of new infections every year. Most of them were infected from their husbands or boyfriends, according to the report.
Sixty percent of HIV-positive people in Vietnam are not insured and there is a high chance that they will give up treatment if antiretroviral treatments become more expensive. 
International donors have been reducing their funding since April 2015 and will completely cut it by the end of 2017, according to official sources.
Antiretroviral treatment costs around VND3-24 million ($136-1,100) a year per person, and health insurance covers 80-95 percent of it.

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