VIETNAM HIV and AIDS Country Profile

11:03' AM - Thursday, 05/11/2009

The first case of HIV infection was reported in 1990 in Ho Chi Minh City. By 1992, only 11 cases had been reported. At the end of the nineties, the HIV epidemic in Vietnam was already at the concentrated stage with high prevalence amongst high-risk populations – mainly people who inject drugs (PWID) – and a low prevalence in the general population.

The estimated numbers of people living with HIV have increased from 160,000 in 2001 to 290,000 in 2007. Correspondingly, the HIV prevalence rose from 0.3% to 0.5% within same period. The estimated numbers of HIV-positive women grew by more than 100%, from 37,000 in 2001 to 76,000 in 2007.

The HIV epidemic is predominantly drug-related; people who inject drugs (PWID), have accounted for most (53%) of the recorded infections, although this data from surveillance may be incomplete. The epidemic affects mainly young men: 64% of reported cases are men under 29 years of age. Other key populations at higher risks include female sex workers (FSWs), men who have sex with men (MSM), and male military recruits The epidemic is now crossing over into patients with sexually transmitted diseases (STD), clients of sex workers and low-risk women (ANC= antenatal clinics attendees.

The 2005-2006 IBBS revealed that – amongst most-at-risk groups – FSWs are most readily reached by HIV prevention programmes. High levels of stigma and discrimination against male people who inject drugs (PWID) and MSM make them less visible and therefore difficult to reach.

Another significant programme coverage issue highlighted by the 2005-2006 IBBS is that more than 80% of the most-at-risk populations did not access voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) and therefore did not know their HIV status. Within the general population aged 15-49, the percentage of men and women who received an HIV test in the last 12 months and who know the results was 2.1% and 2.6%, respectively in 2005.

As of December, 2008, the number of health facilities providing ANC services that offer both HIV testing and ARVs for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) on site was 180 (only 1% of the total number of health facilities). At the same time, 11% (249,278 ) of pregnant women were tested for HIV in the last 12 months and received their results. In addition, 33% of HIV-infected pregnant women received antiretrovirals to reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission. Also in 2008, 85% of infants born to HIV-infected mothers received ARVs for prevention of mother-to-child transmission.

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