ADB helps Vietnam, Laos in addressing HIV threat

Published:  02:42 Monday - November 05, 2012

ADB helps Vietnam, Laos in addressing HIV threat

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing US$20 million in grants and loans to support Laos and Vietnam prevent the spread of HIV infections in 23 border provinces.

Emiko Masaki, Social Sector Economist at ADB’s Southeast Asia Department said this project will help strengthen the HIV response systems of Vietnam and Laos to protect their most vulnerable populations by providing information, skills, supplies and access to quality healthcare services.

Adult HIV infection rates in Vietnam and Laos are modest at an estimated 0.4 percent and 0.2 percent of the respective populations, but the disease has spread to all districts in Vietnam and is rising in border zones. Meanwhile, being surrounded by countries with higher HIV prevalence has created a high-risk environment for Laos.

Many previous efforts to combat the spread of HIV have been targeted at key populations at higher risk in major urban areas, but resource constraints have limited interventions in more isolated areas. The project will help the two countries strengthen national HIV planning and management, upgrade the knowledge and skills of health workers providing HIV-related services to remote communities, and scale-up behavioral change campaigns on HIV risks amongst at-risk groups, including those in border districts.

The project is expected to be implemented over five years until December 2017, at a cost of US$21.9 million with the Governments of Laos and Vietnam contributing more than US$0.5 million and US$1.3 million, respectively.

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