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Up to 4,000 Vietnamese die of HIV yearly: minister

Sunday, December 02, 2018, 18:03 GMT+7
Up to 4,000 Vietnamese die of HIV yearly: minister
Workers of a Red Cross Society in Ho Chi Minh City decorate a tree with red ribbons, a universal symbol for support for those living with HIV, on the first day of an HIV prevention campaign in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, December 1, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Around 3,000-4,000 Vietnamese die from HIV and over 8,000 new cases of HIV infection are found every year, Vietnam’s top healthcare official said at an event in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday.

Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien unveiled the figures in her address on the opening day of a campaign against the infection, which was also World AIDS Day, observed internationally on December 1 every year.

At least 50,000 Vietnamese are unwittingly living with HIV, one of the leading causes of death in a country of 96 million people, Tien said.

Vietnam has effectively provided HIV-prevention interventions and healthcare to those contracting the human immunodeficiency virus, and deployed the world’s tried-and-tested measures in battling its spread.  

But the country has lacked HIV prevention investment and had modest preventive coverage nationwide so far, Tien pointed out.  

Government efforts to tame the infection have been hindered by an increasing number of people contracting HIV via unprotected sexual intercourse.

The situation was compounded as the rates of HIV infection amongst drug addicts and men who have sex with men tended to be on the rise again, the minister said, adding that discrimination against HIV-infected people is still common.

Vietnam is the first nation in the Asia-Pacific region to commit itself to the 90-90-90 targets launched globally by the UN in 2014.

The ambitious program aims to create a world where by 2020, 90 percent of people living with HIV will know their HIV status, 90 percent of people diagnosed with HIV will receive sustained antiretroviral treatment and 90 percent of people on the treatment will have viral suppression.

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Thai Xuan / Tuoi Tre News

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