HIV infection control provided for 8,000 drug users
A new project, which has just been launched to control HIV infection among young drug users in Vietnam, is funded by Expertise France (French agency for international technical expertise) and about 8,000 young drug users will get the support.
Delegates at the seminar (Photo: VNA)
This information was presented at a seminar on the project "Protecting the future-a new strategy to control HIV infection among young drug users in Vietnam" organized by the Centre for Supporting Community Development Initiatives (SCDI) on September 5th in Hanoi.
HIV infection among young people is a real concern worldwide. The HIV infection and transmission situation globally has been reduced in other age groups, but it is increasing among youth and teenagers. According to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), young people aged 15 to 24 accounted for 39% of all new HIV infections in adults in 2012.
At the seminar, Dr. Khuat Thi Hai Oanh, Director of SCDI, showed gaps in the current intervention programs.
"The projects aimat preventing HIV infection and transmission among drug users now all focus on heroin injectors, while only about 10% of the project beneficiaries are under 25 years old. Therefore, the project "Protecting the future-a new strategy to control HIV infection among young drug users in Vietnam" will be the first one for young drug users in Vietnam," said Dr. Oanh.
The project will begin with a study to find out the background and social environment of young drug users, effects of drugs on them, and behaviours that may put them at risk of being infected with HIV. Results of the study will help to develop intervention strategies. The project will provide funding and technical assistance for communal groups to initiate and implement interventions identified as highly effective for young drug users in each locality.
Under the plan, the project will work with networks of 20 communal groups in eight localities of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh city, Khanh Hoa, Hai Phong, Quang Ninh, Thai Binh, Ninh Binh and Nghe An to reach and provide services to at least 8,000 young drug users and help them to control HIV.
"To push back the epidemic, access to preventive services, diagnosis and treatment for vulnerable groups are essential. We appreciate the role of the community and we believe that we have much work to do to be able to reach out to key groups. Expertise France is especially proud of partnering with SCDI in this project by granting EUR860,000 over three years," Mr. Sébastien Mosneron Dupin, CEO of Expertise France, stressed at the seminar.
"The significance of this project is beyond the target of HIV control. Drug use among young people is a huge concern of the Party, National Assembly, Government and the whole society, because it affects the economy, society, health and race. We hope that in addition to HIV prevention, the project also contributes to reducing the harmful effects of drugs and increasing social integration of young people," said Dr. Nghiem Vu Khai, Deputy Head of Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA).
With the support of technical experts from France, the project is expected to intervene to reduce HIV infection risk behaviours, as well as reduce use and dependence on drugs through social interventions and appropriate therapies./.
( Compiled by VNF )