HCM City (VNA) - An estimated 5,500 people living with HIV in the community have yet to be identified in Ho Chi Minh City, with about 30 percent having high viral load rates that are potentially transmitting the virus to others, according to Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Health Nguyen Huu Hung.
Addressing a conference to review the HIV/AIDS prevention over the last 30 years in Ho Chi Minh City on January 14, Hung stressed that this is one of the challenges in the fight against HIV/AIDS at present.
Since the first case of HIV infection found in HCM City in December 1990, the municipal authorities have focused on curbing the epidemic's development via communications and education activities to raise public awareness of protecting themselves, and building HIV prevention models.
As a result, the rate of HIV infection among drug users decreased to 18.6 percent 1998 from 42.3 percent in 1995.
In the 2000-2010 period, HIV prevention models were applied across the city. Meanwhile, the introduction of antiretroviral (ARV) therapy created favourable conditions for the city to expand prevention and treatment programmes.
The city has so far had 145 facilities providing HIV consultation and testing services and 24 providing methadone treatment, which have treated about 5,400 patients.
In addition, the community re-integration support programme and those to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission have been effectively implemented, significantly contributing to reducing the number of new infections in the community.
In the last decade, the municipal authorities have promoted the supply of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) service and ARV drugs, creating breakthroughs in controlling HIV infection.
It has realised the 90-90-90 target set by the UN, which means 90 percent of people living with HIV know their status, 90 percent of those diagnosed are provided with antiretroviral therapy, and 90 percent of those treated with antiretroviral therapy achieve viral suppression.
However, Hung mentioned a fact that a strong increase in the number of men who have sex with men (MSM) has been pushing up the risk of infection in the community.
Towards ending AIDS by 2030, the city will pay attention to promoting preventive and testing services, and investigations.
It set to fulfill the 95-95-95 target by 2025, and the 99-99-99 target to end the epidemic by 2030, Hung said./.