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US accompanies Vietnam in fight against HIV/AIDS: diplomat

A ceremony to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) took place in Hanoi on May 9.

In his remarks, US Ambassador to Vietnam, Marc E. Knapper, said that cooperation in health constitutes a very important basis in the relations between the two countries, adding that Vietnam is the first and only nation in Asia to receive assistance from PEPFAR since its establishment.
The US has been the largest sponsor of Vietnam's HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Programme, helping the country achieve important results in the fight against HIV/AIDS, he said.

The diplomat went on to say that in 2021-2022, PEPFAR Vietnam provided important techniques to assist 8,727 patients accessing Anti-retroviral (ARV) therapy and helped maintain ARV drug use for another 89,000. In addition to treating people living with HIV, PEPFAR's activities focus on helping people access comprehensive prevention services including HIV testing and counseling and strategic communications.

Speaking at the event, US Ambassador-at-Large John N. Nkengasong, US Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy, highlighted the need for greater cooperation between the two countries and PEPFAR's intention to accompany the Southeast Asian country in this process.

Vietnamese Minister of Health Dao Hong Lan said that after 30 years, the country managed to reduce the number of those infected with HIV and AIDS-related deaths. The infection rate has been kept below 0.3%.

According to the minister, along with the Global Fund, PEPFAR is one of the largest sponsors of the Vietnam HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Programme. Currently, PEPFAR is providing support in 11 locations with the largest number of people living with HIV, representing 45.2% of the country.
The Government of Vietnam is committed, with PEPFAR’s support, to continuing to develop financial mechanisms for the sustainable delivery of HIV/AIDS prevention and control services, she said.

It will strengthen the participation of the private sector and social organisations in the investment and provision of HIV prevention and control services to ensure the effective use of the mobilised resources, Lan added./.