Vietnam Could Eliminate HIV/AIDS With Increased Efforts To Fight Epidemic, Former HHS Secretary Thompson Says
Former HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson on Monday said that Vietnam could "stamp out HIV/AIDS very quickly" if the government, nongovernmental organizations, health care workers and citizens "double their efforts" to fight the epidemic, Xinhua News Agency reports (Xinhua News Agency, 1/9). Thompson was speaking at an HIV-prevention conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, as part of a 13-member delegation from the Center for Strategic and International Studies HIV/AIDS Task Force. He said Vietnam has the potential to be the first country under the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief to eliminate the disease (Vietnam News Brief Service, 1/10). PEPFAR is a five-year, $15 billion program that directs funding for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria to 15 focus countries, including Vietnam (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/9/05). "I think the international community is waiting to see if we can actually win a battle against HIV/AIDS," Thompson said, adding, "I believe that Vietnam can give us that victory if we all work as hard as we possibly can, if we raise the dollars and if we do what is necessary together" (Vietnam News Agency, 1/10). Thompson said PEPFAR aims to provide 22,000 HIV-positive people in Vietnam with access to antiretroviral drugs by 2008. According to Vietnam's Ministry of Health, about 263,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS in the country but only 103,000 HIV/AIDS cases have been reported. The government aims to reduce the country's HIV/AIDS prevalence rate to below 0.3% by 2010 (Vietnam News Brief Service, 1/10).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.