Vietnam, U.S. introduce PrEP service for HIV prevention

PANO � The Hanoi municipal Health Department, the Administration for HIV/AIDS Control of the Ministry of Health, and the U.S.'s Center for Disease Control and Prevention started officially providing the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) service for HIV prevention on April 16 in Hanoi.

PrEP was first piloted in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi in 2016.

The service helps prevent non-HIV people with high risks from HIV infection by taking a pill every day, as part of a comprehensive HIV prevention strategy.

The method will help reduce more than 90% of the risk of HIV infection via unsafe sex and 70% of the risk of drug injection. PrEP is safe for various users including pregnant and nursing women. At present, more than 2,000 people are experiencing the service.

Last year, the Ministry of Health approved the PrEP plan in the 2018-2020 period with free provision of antiretroviral drugs for HIV treatment. This is a chance for the people with high risks of HIV infection to approach the service at a low cost, but with high efficiency. During this period, the Administration for HIV/AIDS Control and organizations will conduct the PrEP service at 43 private and state medical stations in 11 provinces and cities, namely Hanoi, Hai Phong, Thai Nguyen, Quang Ninh, Binh Duong, Ba Ria - Vung Tau, Long An, Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai, Tay Ninh, and Tien Giang.

According to provinces' and cities' statistics, the number of people with HIV in the high-risk groups of drugs addicts and prostitutes significantly reduced, while that in the groups of men who have sex with men (MSM) and LGBT rose.

It is estimated that Vietnam has 174,000 MSM, aged between 15 and 49, including over 30,000 in Hanoi.

In the coming time, the Administration for HIV/AIDS Control will introduce the service to other localities.

Source: People's Army Newspaper