High-level Mission Urges Viet Nam to Optimize Use of Resources to Achieve Universal Access

MSM night at a cafe in Hanoi, featuring a cross-dressing fashion show, karaoke songs, and a demonstration of how to properly use a condom.

MSM night at a cafe in Hanoi, featuring a cross-dressing fashion show, karaoke songs, and a demonstration of how to properly use a condom.

Leaders in Viet Nam’s AIDS response urged to optimize resources and focus HIV interventions for those most at risk to help achieve MDG 6 and targets for Universal Access.

A UN high-level delegation headed by the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Asia and the Pacific, Dr. Nafis Sadik and Special Advisor to the UNAIDS Executive Director, Mr. JVR Prasada Rao visited Viet Nam this week to discuss its AIDS response with key stakeholders – including Deputy Prime Minister Truong Vinh Trong, Chairman of the National Committee for AIDS, Drugs and Sex Work Prevention and Control.

“I am impressed with the strong commitment and leadership showed by Deputy Prime Minister Truong Vinh Trong and leaders of the relevant ministries in addressing HIV,” said Dr. Sadik. 

“This is essential to make policy change happen to scale up access to HIV services,” she added.

Development and provision of a standard package of HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services for most-at-risk populations are among the priority actions recommended by the UN delegation for the country.

“Viet Nam should project the financial resources needed to support a comprehensive response to HIV till 2015 and aim to provide at least one third of the total amount from government budgets to ensure the sustainability of the national response,” Mr. Prasada said, underlining the delegation’s recommendations.

The UN delegation discussed the national response to HIV with a wide range of stakeholders including National Committee members, donors, local and international civil society organizations, provincial HIV authorities, People Living with HIV, people at higher risk of HIV infection and the Joint UN team on HIV in Viet Nam.

Civil society representatives underlined the need for increased and sustained resources. “There are two districts in our Hai Phong City still not covered by HIV interventions and people living with HIV there are suffering from stigma, discrimination and lack of access to services,” said Ms. Doan Thi Khuyen, member of a self-help group in their meeting with the delegation.

“I would like you to advise HIV authorities to provide more resources so that services are available in all districts,” she proposed.

Following the mission, a country report will be prepared that documents recommendations for Viet Nam to achieve its Universal Access targets and the AIDS related MDGs; the main gaps and barriers and actions to achieve them; and the financial resources and technical assistance needed for scaling up towards Universal Access.

The UN high-level mission to Viet Nam is part of a regional assessment across countries in Asia and the Pacific taking place over 2009-2010 to improve effectiveness of AIDS responses in the region. Report of the mission will be shared with national stakeholders on HIV and partners of the UN to complement and will inform the new national strategy on HIV for Viet Nam that is currently under development.

Green One UN House, 304 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Ha Noi, Viet Nam