Health

Vietnam launches National Program for pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV

On the eve of World AIDS Day 2018, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health (MOH), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and global health non-profit organization, PATH,announced the nationwide launch of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) services for HIV prevention on November 30.

Vietnam launches National Program for pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV

PrEP is a way for people who do not have HIV but are at substantial risk of contracting it, to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day, as part of a combination HIV prevention strategy. If someone who is on PrEP is exposed to HIV, the medication can work to keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection. PrEP is extremely effective when taken correctly, and can reduce the risk of HIV infection by 92 percent or more.
The scale up of PrEP is essential to Vietnam being able to dramatically bend down the curve of new HIV infections.
“The nationwide launch of PrEP in Vietnam has been a long-standing goal of PEPFAR and USAID,” said Mary Tarnowka, U.S. Consul General. “We are extremely appreciative of the Ministry of Health’s commitment to this truly catalytic approach to HIV prevention, and their ability to lead the way in HIV innovation. By working together with USAID to introduce and now roll-out PrEP nationwide, the 2030 HIV elimination goals are one step closer.”
“We are proud that Vietnam is the second country in Asia, after Thailand, to roll-out PrEP nationwide,” stated Dr. Nguyen Hoang Long, the Director of Vietnam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC). “PrEP will be made available in 11 provinces by 2020. With a target of 7,300 people enrolled, we aim to provide these services to all those who need them nationwide.”
VAAC, USAID, and PATH launched pilot PrEP services in June 2017 through the USAID/PATH Healthy Markets project. Healthy Markets has worked with community groups led by people at risk of HIV, provincial health leaders, private sector partners, and private and public outpatient clinics to provide PrEP for 1,895 people at risk of HIV in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
This includes men who have sex with men, transgender women, and the HIV-negative partners of people living with HIV who are not viral load suppressed . PrEP was also made available through a pilot project run by UNAIDS.

By UYEN PHUONG

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