Vietnam will expand the national programme for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention to 15 more cities and provinces following the positive outcomes of the pilot implementation in 11 localities over the past one year.
The information was released at a workshop held in Ho Chi Minh City on November 27 by the Ministry of Health’s Vietnam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC), the USAID/PATH Healthy Market and UNAIDS.
VAAC deputy head Phan Thi Thu Huong said more than 6,000 people have enrolled in the PrEP programme so far, including 3,946 joining in 2019.
She added that the Global Fund has committed non-refundable aid to support Vietnam's response to HIV/AIDS among the MSM community in 2019-2020, which will enable greater access to and uptake of PrEP for those that are at highest risk of HIV.
According to USAID Vietnam Health Office Director Ritu Singh, even though PrEP use is increasing in Vietnam, many more people need to have access to it for there to be population-level impact in reducing HIV incidence.
She said USAIDS will assist the VAAC and implementing partners in further boosting demand creation and in ensuring that PrEP clients get the support they need to stay on PrEP.
PrEP was first piloted in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in 2016. The Ministry of Health made it part of the direction for HIV/AIDS care and treatment in 2017 and passed a plan to roll out the service for the 2018-2020 in 2018 with the provision of free antiretroviral drugs for HIV treatment.
Vietnam is the second country in Asia to launch PrEP service nationwide, after Thailand./.VNA
A national communication campaign for HIV/AIDS prevention, called K=K – (Không phát hiện = Không lây truyền) or U=U (Undetectable = Untransmittable), was launched at a ceremony on Tuesday at the Bach Mai General Hospital in Hanoi.