National meeting and parade on the occasion of 2015 National Action Month on AIDS and World AIDS Day

Your Excellency Nguyen Thanh Long, Vice Minister of Health, Member of the National Committee for AIDS, Drugs and Prostitution Prevention and Control,

Your Excellency Nguyen Phi Long, Secretariat of Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union Central Committee, Chairman of Viet Nam National Youth Union,

Distinguished guests, colleagues and friends,

I am honoured to mark World AIDS Day this year on behalf of the Joint United Nations Team on HIV in Viet Nam.

Over the past 25 years, more than 200,000 people have been infected by HIV in Viet Nam. AIDS has claimed more than 80,000 lives.

This is a huge loss for Vietnamese people and society.

But Viet Nam has also worked hard to respond to AIDS, and is now starting to get control over the epidemic. Annual new HIV infections have gone down by nearly one third compared to the peak period of the epidemic. AIDS-related deaths have gone down by over 50%.

I would like to commend Viet Nam for these significant achievements, and also for committing itself to further intensifying the national response to HIV in the next five years: Achieving Fast-Track targets for Ending AIDS by 2030.

Ladies and gentlemen; colleagues and friends,

Fast tracking the HIV response for ending AIDS by 2030 is a very ambitious goal, but it is not impossible.

We have the strong political commitment of Viet Nam’s leaders, We have the knowledge about where to focus our efforts, and what populations are most vulnerable. And we have innovations and new ways of doing things that will help us get to a point where we can end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat.

We must not let this opportunity slip away!

While I believe that it is possible to reach our goal of ending AIDS by the year 2030, we still have a lot of work to do.

We can only end AIDS if we urgently provide universal access to HIV prevention and treatment services, so that no one is left behind.

We can only end AIDS if every person living with HIV and every person at higher risk of HIV infection can live without fear of stigma and discrimination in their families and communities.

As we commemorate World AIDS Day today, we must remember all of those who have already lost their fight with AIDS. But today, let us also open our hearts and show our support to people living with HIV, and people at higher risk of HIV! Today, let us all make a collective commitment to work hard, and urgently, toward ending AIDS in Viet Nam!

Xin cam on va chuc suc khoe!

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