Vietnam has recorded elevated HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men over the past ten years, the Ministry of Health reported at a conference in Hanoi on Wednesday.
From 2012 to the end of September, 219,146 people were registered with HIV infection in the country, including more than 7,000 cases logged in the first nine months of this year, according to the ministry’s Vietnam Administration of HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC).
Among people newly diagnosed with HIV, 85 percent are men. Some 48.9 percent of the infected men are aged 16-29 and 28.7 percent are in their 30s.
While transmission was the most prevalent among people who inject drugs in the past, the rate of transmission through unprotected sex gradually increased from 65 percent in 2013 to 82.2 percent by 2022.
Notably, 47 percent of people newly contracting HIV were men who have sex with men.
At Wednesday’s conference, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Lien Huong said that while international support accounted for up to 80 percent of Vietnam’s budget to fight HIV, the rate has fallen to 49 percent in recent years as domestic financial resources made up some 51 percent.
However, Huong expects that finance will remain a challenge for Vietnam in achieving its goal to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as the country’s current resources only meet 60-70 percent of its demand.
Huong said that the health ministry is working on securing donations.
Phan Thi Thu Huong, head of the VAAC, emphasized the importance of wider health and sex education, as well as reducing stigma and discrimination against sexual minorities.