UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Visits “One-stop shop” Health Centre for HIV Services in Hanoi

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.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited a “one-stop shop” health centre for HIV services in Ha Noi on 29 October together with H.E. Mr Truong Vinh Trong, Deputy Prime Minster and chairman of the National Committee on AIDS, H.E. Nguyen Quoc Trieu, Minster of Health, H.E. Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, Minister of Labour – Invalids and Social Affairs, and H.E. Le The Tiem Vice Minister of Public Security and delegates of the United Nations Country Team.

Viet Nam’s HIV response has benefited from the increase in political commitment in recent years. During the visit to the Health Centre, the Deputy Prime Minister, H.E. Truong Vinh Trong highlighted that “Viet Nam is considering turning the national response to HIV into a National Target Programme. This will help ensure the sustainability of the response to HIV and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal on HIV.”

The Tu Liem District Health Centre in Hanoi provides HIV-related services, including HIV counselling and testing, and peer education to key populations at higher risk. The centre also distributes condoms, clean needle and syringes. Recently a government programme was started to provide methadone maintenance therapy, as part of a role out of methadone clinics across the country.

“This health centre is not only preventing the further spread of HIV. You are not just reducing deaths from AIDS in Viet Nam. You are achieving much more,” said Secretary-General Ban to the staff working at the Tu Liem District Health Centre. “You are giving life to people who will contribute to the development and success of Viet Nam.”

Secretary-General Ban also spoke to people living with HIV who were receiving methadone for drug dependence treatment as well as antiretroviral treatment. Many at the centre told the Secretary-General how methadone has changed their lives.

Secretary-General Ban thanked the participants for speaking out on behalf of people living with HIV and he also stressed the importance of addressing issues such as stigma and discrimination to enable people to access HIV services with dignity.

“Viet Nam has significantly scaled up its response to HIV in recent years and has experienced significant progress. I urge the international community to stand by the commitments made to this country to ensure a sustained response to the epidemic and not withdraw their funding,” concluded Mr Murphy, UNAIDS Country Director, speaking on behalf on the UN Country Team.

The HIV epidemic in Viet Nam is concentrated among key populations at higher risk. While HIV prevalence among adults aged 15-49 is estimated at 0.44%, prevalence is significantly higher among men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs and sex workers in the country.  For example, HIV prevalence among people who inject drug is about 30%, and in some provinces nearing 50%.

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