HIV/AIDS cases decline: Health Ministry

Vietnam has seen a downward trend in the number of HIV cases but at a slowing pace in recent years, says the Vietnam Administration of HIV/AIDS Control under the Ministry of Health.

According to statistics released on May 25, in 2011, nearly 14,200 people were tested positive for HIV, a decrease by nearly 150 compared to the year 2010, and nearly 2,000 against 2009.

"The decreasing rate gets slower because the number of prostitutes using condoms tends to go down while that of heroin addicts sharing injection needles went up despite the police and community efforts," said Le Hai Son, deputy head of the administration's Supervision and Evaluation Division.

Nearly 200,000 people in the country suffered from HIV by the end of March this year.

More than 49,300 of them are currently living with AIDS with more than 52,600 having died of the disease.

It is forecast that the number of HIV patients can re-increase in some cities and provinces such as Hanoi, HCM City, Son La, Thai Nguyen, Dien Bien and Nghe An, he said.

To improve HIV/AIDS prevention, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has signed an instruction, asking the Ministry of Health to preside over the National Strategy on HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control to 2020 with a vision to 2030.

The target of the strategy is the vision of zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.

The peak month for mother-to-child HIV transmission prevention 2012 will be launched nation-wide from June 1 to 30.