UNAIDS praises Viet Nam’s efforts to reach universal access
11 May 2009
UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé praised Viet Nam’s efforts to reach its universal access goals in a meeting with Viet Nam’s Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Mr Truong Vinh Trong in Paris. The meeting took place on 28 April during a study visit to the Netherlands and France.
The two leaders discussed specific measures to reach Viet Nam’s universal access goals, including strengthening multisectoral coordination in the AIDS response, the intensification of comprehensive prevention and harm reduction programmes with inclusion of substitution therapies and new approaches to address sex work.
The Deputy Prime Minister in endorsing Mr Sidibé’s bold priorities stated that, “Viet Nam is doing its best to make sure its people are protected from HIV.”
Study visit to review experience in the area of drugs and sex work prevention and management
Mr Truong Vinh Trong also shared the findings of the Viet Nam delegation’s study visits to the Netherlands and France during which they reviewed policy, practice and experience in the area of drugs and sex work prevention and management.
Viet Nam is doing its best to make sure its people are protected from HIV.
Viet Nam’s Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Mr Truong Vinh Trong
Mr Sidibé commended the leadership of Mr Trong in taking senior leaders from the Viet Nam National Committee on AIDS, Drugs and Prostitution on the research visit. Members of the high-level government delegation included Mr Le The Tiem, Vice Minister, Ministry of Public Security; Mr Bui Hong Linh, Vice Minister, Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs; and Professor Trinh Quan Huan, Vice Minister, Ministry of Health.
The visit included meetings with Dutch and French Ministers and officials from the Health and Foreign Affairs ministries and visits to facilities that provide services for people living with HIV and programmes for people who inject drugs, sex workers as well as research institutes and a prison. Mr Trong explained that senior members of the National Committee accompanied him on the visit to ensure that lessons learned would be incorporated in Viet Nam’s national response to AIDS.
Progress towards universal access
Although the country faces challenges to meet its universal access targets, Viet Nam has made significant progress in some areas. Expansion of coverage and access to quality HIV treatment and care have been considerably improved in those areas with high HIV prevalence since the targets were set in 2006. There has been a 50% increase in the number of eligible pregnant women receiving antiretroviral treatment, and a six-fold increase in access to antiretroviral treatment. Methadone pilot sites started operation in two provinces in 2008.
The UNAIDS Executive Director was invited by the Deputy Prime Minister to attend the opening of the conference on the commemoration of 20 years of Viet Nam’s response to HIV to be held in Hanoi in 2010.