6 Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

Where we are?

Children with HIV in Viet Nam. @United Nations Viet Nam/2010/Justin Mott


Viet Nam has made significant improvements in the legal and policy framework related to HIV in 2012. A new national HIV strategy that is aligned with global targets by 2015 has been approved. The first National Targeted Programme on HIV/AIDS has been endorsed for 2012-2015. The HIV prevalence is estimated at 16.7 percent among men who have sex with men in 2009, at 13.4 percent among men who inject drugs and three percent among female sex workers in 2011. The total number of individuals on anti-retroviral treatment (ART) at the end of 2011 has increased by 1.5 times that in December 2009, with ART coverage standing at 53 percent in adults and 83 percent in children. However, despite this impressive progress Viet Nam is still likely to miss the MDG target of reversing the epidemic.

Impressive progress on prevention and control of malaria shows that Viet Nam has already achieved the MDG target on malaria control. Viet Nam is also acknowledged to have done a good job in controlling other epidemics such as SARS, H5N1 and H1N1.


Despite advancement in some areas and great efforts by the Government to address HIV in recent years, barriers to HIV services uptake, including non-availability of a standardised package of services and stigma and discrimination at multiple levels, are still allowing the virus to spread in silence and hindering Viet Nam’s progress on the MDG target. In order to further scale up measures to halt and reverse the spread of HIV, Viet Nam will need to prioritize funding on HIV prevention for key populations, using the evidence available, and ensure the sustainability of the national response to HIV.

Expanding coverage of HIV services for key populations

  • Prioritised HIV programming based on evidence and rights-based policies for key populations at higher risk and involving civil society in programme design and implementation will help Viet Nam achieve MDG 6.
  • With the majority of HIV infections due to unsafe drug injection and unsafe sex, comprehensive prevention activities targeting these behaviours would effectively halt and reverse the spread
    of HIV.
  • It is important to expand harm reduction programmes, including methadone maintenance treatment and needle and syringe programmes for people who inject drugs (PWIDs); as well as condom programmes for PWIDs, sex workers, men who have sex with men and their partners.
  • Developing and implementing a standardised, comprehensive package of services for key populations at higher risk is essential.
  • Early testing and early treatment can effectively prevent the spread of HIV when combined with other prevention strategies such as condom use.

Sustaining the national response to HIV

To prevent and control HIV in the long term, it is important to:

  • Increase the share of domestic resources for HIV and allocate resources based on the evidence and drivers of the concentrated epidemic in Viet Nam.
  • Make the national response to HIV a priority in the political agenda and budget planning processes.
  • Strengthen systems by integrating or improving linkages between the HIV programme and programmes on health, education and other sectoral services.  
  • Strengthen partnerships: stronger community and civil society engagement helps build programmes that are more realistic, acceptable, suitable and sustainable.
  • Ensure multi-sectoral collaboration and coordination and the creation of an enabling legal environment.
Targets for MDG6
  1. Halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS
    • HIV prevalence among population aged 15-24 years
    • Condom use at last high-risk sex
    • Proportion of population aged 15-24 years with comprehensive correct knowledge of HIV/AIDS
    • Ratio of school attendance of orphans to school attendance of non-orphans aged 10-14 years
  2. Achieve, by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it
    • Proportion of population with advanced HIV infection with access to antiretroviral drugs