World Aids Day 2012: Necessary adjustments for HIV epidemic control on track in Viet Nam
Hanoi, 1 December 2012 - On December 1st the world celebrates World AIDS Day. Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero deaths from AIDS-related illness. Zero discrimination is the theme of World AIDS Day 2012. In 2011, 2,2 million adults worldwide were newly infected with HIV. In the same year an estimated number of 1,7 million people died on HIV. The number of infections worldwide is reduced by half a million compared to ten years ago, while globally there are 600,000 fewer deaths than in 2005.
In Viet Nam the HIV epidemic is most widely spread in people injecting drugs, commercial sex workers and men who have sex with men, including their partners and clients. Over time this pattern has remained unchanged and therefore there is no immediate risk of feminization or generalization of the HIV epidemic to others parts of the population. In 2011, Viet Nam reported 14,113 new cases and 2,413 HIV-deaths. Conversely, 54% of people in need for treatment were undergoing antiretroviral therapy. Moreover, the coverage of prevention in Viet Nam using needle and syringe programs, methadone maintenance therapy and condoms was scaled up in 2011.
2012 saw the approval of a law on administrative detentions by the National Assembly. This law paves the way for the closure of the 05 detention centers (for commercial sex workers) and the renovation plan of the 06 detention centers (for people who use drugs). Under the direction of the Prime Minister’s Cabinet, the Ministry of Labour - Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) is now ready to expand its methadone maintenance therapy clinics and created community based drug treatment centers that ultimately will result in the facilitation of HIV prevention and care.
In Viet Nam, WHO’s response to the HIV epidemic prioritises the implementation of Treatment 2.0. Treatment 2.0 is a global initiative proposed by WHO and UNAIDS to catalyze the next phase of HIV treatment scale-up through rapid simplification. It consists of five priority areas: 1) Optimize drug regimens, 2) Provide point-of-care (POC) and simplified diagnostic and monitoring tools, 3) Reduce costs, 4) Adapt service delivery, and 5) Mobilize communities.
As of August 2012, Treatment 2.0 initiatives are being implemented in the provinces of Can Tho and Dien Bien. In Dien Bien 715 clients, including 508 pregnant women accessed HIV counseling and testing at 12 piloting community health stations. 14 of them were diagnosed with HIV. 26 patients have been referred from district outpatient clinics to community health stations for receiving antiretroviral drugs therapy, including follow up. In Can Tho 460 clients, including 373 pregnant women received HIV testing at 9 piloting community health stations. One case was confirmed HIV positive. As the number of people being tested and treated rises, the ecological impact of the provision of early testing and treatment will become increasingly visible.
In a climate of expected reduction of international development assistance to Viet Nam, cost-effective and sustainable response is vital to sustain the progress made in recent years. Such a sustained response would include scaling up access to needle and syringe programs, methadone, condoms and antiretroviral treatment. Moreover, it would also include expanded early testing, including point of care diagnostics with rapid test, and early treatment targeting people at high risk, such as people who inject drugs and discordant couples. In Viet Nam this approach can improve the health of people living with HIV as well as prevent the spread of HIV.
For more information, please contact:
Ms. Phung Thi Thu Phuong
Tel: 84-4-943 3734/5/6 (ext. 83886)
Mobile: 84-915 413 814