Deputy Minister of Health speaks at meeting for World AIDS Day, December 1.
Over 220,000 Vietnamese people are infected with HIV, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said on November 30.
At a meeting to mark Nations Against HIV/AIDS Month and World AIDS Day, he reported that Vietnam is the fifth most HIV-affected country in Asia Pacific, behind India, China, Indonesia and Thailand.
About 10,000 new HIV cases are reported every year in Vietnam, placing a major burden on the country, he said.
HIV is under control in Vietnam at the moment. Nevertheless, Deputy Minister Long is concerned that it may become increasingly serious because of cuts to the budget to fight the disease. Moreover, discrimination against those with HIV and the absence of effective methods to control the disease are other difficulties, he added.
HIV/AIDS can only be tackled when there is no discrimination, he said. Discrimination makes people afraid and reluctant to admit to carrying the disease, which provides an environment for it to spread. World AIDS Day is therefore an occasion to improve people's knowledge about HIV/AIDS and remove discrimination against those carrying the disease.