Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long called for the stigma and discrimination surrounding people living with HIV/AIDS to be stopped at a meeting held yesterday to mark the Action Month on HIV/AIDS Prevention and the World AIDS Day, December 1.
"Stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS still remain in many countries that limit their basic rights to healthcare, study and work," said Long.
"Stigma and discrimination led people living with HIV/AIDS to hide their situation, which makes it difficult to detect new HIV infections and increases the risk of it spreading throughout the community," said Long.
Long said the level of investment in HIV/AIDS prevention and a lack of intervention measures were not strong enough to tackle the stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS in Viet Nam.
"This year's action month will focus its activities to strengthen awareness among the society of HIV/AIDS, and reduce stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS. Reducing discrimination could facilitate easier access to preventive and treatment services," added Long.
The Viet Nam Administration of HIV/AIDS Control said statistics showed that Viet Nam had the fifth largest sufferers of HIV in the Asia-Pacific Region after India, China, Indonesia and Thailand.
As of September 30, Viet Nam had reported more than 224,000 people living with HIV, including more than 66,900 AIDS patients nationwide. The disease is mainly focused on drug addicts, prostitutes and gay male sex.
According to the Ministry of Health, more than 22,000 drug addicts people benefited from methadone treatment programmes nationwide in 2014. HIV consultancy and test services were given to more than 400,000 people in 2014, while communication and education programmes have helped strengthen awareness on HIV/AIDS prevention for more than 10 millions people.