Regional HIV/AIDS conference running in HCMC

A workshop titled “Updates and Best Practices in Second Generation HIV/AIDS Surveillance: The Asia Experience,” is currently taking place in Ho Chi Minh City. 

The conference, running March 1-5, is the second of its type following one held in Shanghai, China in 2007. The event brings together technical surveillance staff from governmental and non-governmental organizations, and US government agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the US Department of Defense (DOD) from 14 participating Asian countries.

The workshop aims to provide updates and best practice information on key issues related to the conduct and use of HIV/AIDS surveillance data.

Speaking about the event, Afghanistan National AIDS Control Program Manager Dr. Ajmal Sabawoon said, “This workshop is very important as it is a platform to share lessons learned, which means I learn from others’ experiences and others can learn from my team as well, and it allows the establishment of a technical network at the regional level which supports monitoring the progress or trends of epidemics in the region.”

The workshop also has the advantage of focusing on technical issues that are most pertinent to low-level and concentrated epidemics in Asia. Associate Professor and Director of the Vietnam National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology Dr. Nguyen Tran Hien, said, “With support from PEPFAR (the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) and other international organizations, Vietnam has fundamentally carried out second generation HIV/AIDS surveillance work initiated by the World Health Organization and UNAIDS.

"However, there is much more to do, particularly in quality control and improvement, in order to guarantee the linkages between surveillance and prevention, and maximize resources to allow effective analysis, planning and efficiency assessment of HIV programs in the country.”, he added

In 2003, PEPFAR was launched to combat global HIV/AIDS - the largest commitment by any nation in history to combat a single disease. Since 2004 in Vietnam, PEPFAR has provided over US$400 million to support the delivery of comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention, care, treatment, and support services.

By Uyen Phuong

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