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Vietnam Aims to Provide Health Insurance for All HIV Patients in 2017

Vietnam’s Ministry of Health just announced a plan to provide health insurance to 100% of local HIV patients in the future.

According to VnExpress, there are approximately 230,000 people living with HIV in the country, only 40% of whom are covered under the national health insurance scheme compared to 79% for the rest of the population. The ministry is hoping to increase the coverage for HIV patients to 100% by February next year.

Currently, Vietnam’s HIV-related treatments, mostly antiretroviral therapy (ART), are paid for by international subsidies. However, recently foreign donors confirmed that financial support for the country will be reduced significantly starting in 2017. By 2018, foreign assistance will mostly be in skills and training. This is the main reason the local government is pushing to have all HIV patients covered by health insurance.

Dr. Nguyen Hoang Long, head of the Vietnam Department for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control, told Tuoi Tre that in the last 10 months, there have been 8,059 new cases of HIV infection. The current state of HIV treatment is not ideal either: ART is only available to 40% of patients, while 57% of patients in need have access to methadone, a drug that reduces HIV transmission. Treatment availability in remote regions is also limited.

[Photo via Ong Ba Chau]

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