Frequently Asked Questions

  • Information on expatriates living with HIV and their right to work and treatment in Viet Nam
    • If my health condition is all good except for being HIV positive, am I eligible to work in Viet Nam?
      Yes, you are, under the Law on HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control.
    • Is an HIV test compulsory during a health check to get a work permit in Viet Nam?
      No, it isn’t. There is no explicit requirement for an HIV test in the health check form attached to the Circular No.14/2013 of the Ministry of Health, which governs the health certification process including for work permit applications. However, there is a chance that a health clinic in Viet Nam will include an HIV test within the health examination it conducts to fulfil the requirement for the health certificate for work permit.
    • Is the employee obliged to disclose his/her HIV status to the employer in Viet Nam?
      No, you are not, under the Law on HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control.
    • Can I bring ARVs into Viet Nam for my antiretroviral treatment? If yes, what documents are required to do so?
      Yes, you can bring your ARVs into Viet Nam for HIV treatment as regulated in the Circular No.39/2013 of the Ministry of Health, which governs the management of pharmaceutical products for human that are exported/imported through non-commercial channels. However, you will need to prove that those drugs are your prescribed ARVs.
  • Information on how and where to test for HIV
    • Where can I get HIV counseling and testing?
      Depending on where most convenient, you can come to one of the following venues for voluntary HIV counselling and testing:

      1. National Institute for Hygene and Epidemiology, Ha Noi
      2. Pasteur Institute, Ho Chi Minh City
      3. The Central Highland Branch of the National Institute for Hygene and Epidemiology, Dak Lak City
      4. Pasteur Institute, Nha Trang City
      5. Provincial Preventive Medicines Centres
      6. Hematology Department at Provincial General Hospitals
      7. Dermatology hospitals.

      You can refer to this list for more options on free HIV counselling and testing points of service in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City.

    • What are my rights related to HIV counselling and testing?
      You have the rights to request that the HIV counselling and testing for you strictly follow the principles of Consent; Confidential; Counseling; Accuracy; and, Linkage to care and treatment.

      1. Consent: It requires consent of the client after being adequately informed of HIV testing. The client has the right to refuse testing.
      2. Confidential: To ensure the confidentiality of information of the person who gets HIV counseling and testing. Contents of discussion between the counselor and the client will not be disclosed to anyone without his/her consent.
      3. Counseling: All HIV testing cases must be provided with pre-test information and post-test counseling.
      4. Accuracy: Check if the clinic where you are using service applies the national HIV testing algorithm.
      5. Linkage to care and treatment: HIV-infected people should be linked immediately to care and treatment services.
  • Information on how and where to get treatment for HIV
    • Can I get HIV treatment if I have tested positive for HIV?
      According to Decision No.3047/2015 of the Ministry of Health on guidelines for the management, care and treatment of people living with HIV, adults and children of more than five years of age can be enrolled in antiretroviral treatment when their CD4 count < 500 cells/mm3or upon testing positive for HIV irrespective of CD4 count in cases of:

      1. Clinical stage 3 or 4 including tuberculosis;
      2. Findings of severe chronic hepatitis Ba;
      3. Pregnant women and lactating women with HIV;
      4. People with HIV whose spouse is not infected with HIV;
      5. People living with HIV from key populations including: people who inject drugs, sex workers, and men who have sex with men;
      6. People living with HIV ≥ 50 years of age;
      7. People living with HIV who live and work in mountainous, islands and remote areas.
    • Where can I get treatment for HIV?
      In case you test positive for HIV, the clinic where you do your test is responsible to refer you immediately to care and treatment services. A feedback mechanism will also be used to ensure your successful referral and that the referral process is documented in your medical record.
  • Information on post-exposure prophylaxis
    • What should I do if I stepped on a needle stained with blood and bled or if I had sex with someone I think could be at risk for HIV, and the condom broke?
      Go to the Infectious Diseases Department at your local Provincial Hospital immediately and ask about post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP. If it’s been less than 72 hours since your incident happened, you may be able to take medication that could keep you from getting infected with HIV, even if the needle is HIV infected and your partner is HIV-positive. If it’s been longer than 72 hours, PEP will not protect you from HIV, and you will need to explore HIV testing options. In most cases, you will have to wait at least 2 weeks after a possible exposure before an HIV test can provide accurate results.

      If the incident is not a post-occupational HIV exposure or one of the regulated non-occupational post-exposure situations, the person in question may be not considered for prophylaxis. In such cases, there is PEP at some private clinics if the person can afford, such as the Family Medical Practice clinics in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City.

  • Information on where to get legal aid for people living with HIV
    • What should I do if I think my rights are being violated because of my HIV status?
      Get to understand your rights under the laws of Viet Nam and provide information to those violating your rights about how and why their actions are wrong and against the law. This is the first step to follow and try if your rights as a person living with HIV are violated. If this is unsuccessful, negotiations between the two parties, which involve a more active dialogue and sharing positions, can lead to a mutual agreement. If you fail with mediation, you may then decide to seek administrative sanctions. In this case, it is recommended that a lawyer be consulted. Checking out UNAIDS publication “Learning Your Rights: Training manual on HIV and the Law” for skills and tips that can be helpful.
    • If I am poor but in need of legal aid, where can I turn for help with legal aid?
      You can try to reach Provincial Centres for Legal Aid under the Ministry of Justice or around 30 legal aid centres of the Viet Nam Judicial Support Association for the Poor for free legal aid services.
  • Information on how HIV is transmitted and not
    • Can I get AIDS from sharing a cup or shaking hands with someone who has HIV or AIDS?
      HIV is found only in body fluids, so you cannot get HIV by shaking someone’s hand or giving them a hug (or by using the same toilet or towel). While HIV is found in saliva, sharing cups or utensils has never been shown to transmit HIV.
    • Can HIV be transmitted through an insect bite?
      No, Insects can NOT transmit HIV. Research has shown that HIV does not replicate or survive well in insects. In addition, blood-eating insects digest their food and do not inject blood from the last person they bite into the next person.
    • Can I get HIV from kissing?
      No. You cannot get HIV from casually kissing someone (or vice versa) who has HIV. Skin is a greater barrier against HIV. It is not recommended to engage long, open mouth kissing with someone who has HIV and one of you has an open sore in or around the mouth.
    • Can I get HIV from hot tubs or steam rooms?
      No, HIV does not survive outside the body, and fluids like sweat and saliva that are typically secreted during these activities have never been shown to transmit HIV.
    • How HIV is transmitted?
      HIV is spread mainly by having sex or sharing injection drug equipment such as needles with someone who has HIV. Only certain fluids—blood, semen (cum), pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum), rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, and breast milk—from an HIV-infected person can transmit HIV.

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