The United States plans to support Vietnam in launching a pilot methadone programme next year aimed at limiting the spread of HIV/AIDS among injecting drug users, US officials said Thursday.
Communist-ruled Vietnam had done much to limit the spread of the virus and bring life-saving treatment to almost 12,000 patients, the US delegation said in a paper presented at an annual donors' conference in Hanoi.
"Our main goal will continue to be on preventing, and providing care and treatment for people living with HIV," the delegates said.
It pledged to support the government and health groups in an "aggressive campaign targeting those populations most at risk of infection, primarily those that inject drugs, sex workers and their clients, and youth".
Over the next year the US would prioritise rehabilitation and treatment therapy for users to help cut HIV transmission, it said, adding that it would back pilot methadone programmes in six sites.
The United States also said it supported increasing treatment, with the goal of providing 22,000 HIV-positive people with anti-retroviral drugs by next year, up from only an estimated 1,500 recipients 18 months ago.
It also called for political leadership on the issue, saying that "experience from many countries has demonstrated that reducing stigma and discrimination of HIV-infected persons is a critical factor in fighting the epidemic".