Drug Substitution Treatment in Vietnam to Fight HIV/AIDS: Expert
November 3, 2005
Vietnam's ability to combat HIV/AIDS rests in part on providing substitution treatment for intravenous drug users, government and World Health Organization officials said Wednesday in a statement. According to WHO, transmission via needles accounts for the majority of new HIV infections in Asia.
"The future of the HIV pandemic in Asia, including Vietnam, will largely depend on response to drug use," said Dr. Dao Duy Quat, vice chairperson of the Central Commission for Ideology and Culture of the Vietnamese Communist Party.
"Extensive research shows that by combining common approaches to the drug problem with harm reduction methods such as drug substitution treatment, an effective response can be achieved," said Hans Troedsson, WHO representative in Vietnam. "This combination approach can not only avert an HIV crisis but also directly addresses the problem of drug use."
Last week, WHO and the Central Commission organized a workshop addressing the issue. While HIV/AIDS prevalence in Vietnam is still relatively low compared to other countries in the region, the disease is spreading at an alarming rate. Official figures show that in May of this year, 95,512 Vietnamese were living with HIV/AIDS, with 15,539 cases of fully developed AIDS and 8,965 related deaths. However, widely accepted estimates have said 250,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS in Vietnam.
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.