AHF Spotlight: HIV Tests, ARVs, and Policy Change in Vietnam

In Global, Vietnam by AHF

 

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AHF Vietnam, which was launched in 2007, serves about 840 people at its three clinics in Chu Chu District, Hai Phong District, and District 11. As of August 2nd, 815 of those clients were receiving lifesaving antiretroviral (ART) treatment. The branch has hosted four successful testing campaigns this year – in January, February, March, and April – in communities and drug rehabilitation centers in two districts of Ho Chi Minh City, and condoms are freely distributed at the testing actions and in clinics.

Most importantly this year, the AHF Vietnam team – along with AHF’s Chief of Global Advocacy and Policy, Terri Ford, and AHF Asia Bureau Chief Dr. Chhim Sarath – held important meetings with government health organizations to improve national health policies and establish new treatment opportunities.

The first meeting, in February, was with the Ho Chi Minh City Provincial AIDS Committee, where the AHF representatives presented the model of using two rapid tests to confirm an HIV diagnosis, as opposed to the three that are currently mandated by national guidelines. Subsequent meetings with the Vice Director of the Vietnam Authority of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control (VAAC) and the Deputy Chief of the country’s HIV/AIDS Care and Treatment Division covered the provision of ART for patients with a CD4 count from 350-500 – a practice that has since been officially recommended by the World Health Organization at the International AIDS Conference in Kuala Lumpur – as well as the introduction of the 60-second rapid INSTI test to the country and the procurement of antiretroviral medications for two AHF Vietnam clinic sites.

 

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