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Hanoi Health Center to Offer Rewards to People Who Bring in HIV Patients

The health center is positive their new reward system will help increase detection rates for the dangerous virus.

The Hanoi Center for Disease Control claims that HIV rates in the capital are far higher than many people realize. They estimate that there are thousands of people currently living with the virus who have not been diagnosed.

Officially, the number of HIV patients has decreased in Hanoi over the last decade. After tests last year revealed nearly 1,300 new patients, however, it became clear there are many people suffering from the disease unknowingly, Dan Tri reports.

In order to address the issue, the aforementioned health center is planning to offer between VND200,000 and VND1.8 million to anyone who brings in an HIV-positive person for treatment. They aim to find 3,000 new patients in 2019.

Another issue faced by HIV sufferers is the stigma that remains attached to the illness. Earlier this year, Hanoi officials launched a campaign to address misconceptions surrounding HIV. Most notably, they aimed to make it clear that it’s possible to have safe sex with an HIV-positive person through a series of videos.

According to Dr. John Blandford, country director of CDC Vietnam, and Dr. Todd Pollack, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and country director of HAIVN, the use of antiretroviral therapy (ART) can reduce the virus to an undetectable level within the body, which means it can’t be passed even if a condom is not used.

HIV rates in Vietnam peaked in the early 2000s, but the issue has since stabilized. According to UNAID, the prevalence of the illness among adult is at 0.4%. It remains a public health threat, though, with 11,000 new infections confirmed in 2016, along with 7,800 AIDS-related deaths.

[Photo via Medical News Today]

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