With around 224,000 HIV infections detected in the past 25 years, Vietnam ranks fifth among countries with the highest number of people living with HIV in the Asia-Pacific region, the health ministry has said.
Of the 224,000 infections, around 3,000 have been detected from the beginning of 2014. Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long announced these figures at a meeting held in Hanoi on Sunday to mark World Aids Day (December 1) and also to initiate the national action month on HIV/AIDS prevention and control, with the participation of about 3,000 people.
India, China, Indonesia and Thailand sit above Vietnam in the number of HIV infections in the region, deputy minister Long said.
Over the past 25 years, Vietnam has achieved remarkable success in restraining the increase rate of new HIV infections and reducing AIDS-related deaths, the official said. Although the number of newly detected cases has decreased in recent years, the total number of HIV infections remains high, with 10,000 new infections detected every year, he added. Currently, more than 80 percent of villages and towns and nearly 99 percent of districts nationwide have reported HIV carriers. More than 86,700 HIV/AIDS patients across the country received Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) treatment by June this year, the ministry reported. In Vietnam, HIV is spread mainly through sex or sharing injection drug equipment, such as needles, with someone who has HIV. Held on December 1 each year since 1988, World AIDS Day is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate people who have died of AIDS. The 2014 theme for World AIDS Day is “Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-free Generation.”