US launches HIV self-testing service in Vietnam

By Toan Dao   August 26, 2016 | 03:20 pm PT
US launches HIV self-testing service in Vietnam
A nurse tests a blood sample during a free HIV test at a blood tests party, part of a campaign to prevent HIV infection among male same-sex couples, in Bangkok September 20, 2014. Photo by Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha
The service is as convenient as other quick tests for pregnancy or diabetes.

A U.S. funded HIV self-testing service which will help people know their HIV status discreetly was opened in Vietnam for the first time on Friday, Vietnam News Agency reported.

U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius took part in the launching ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City the same day.

It takes a user about 20 minutes to obtain the test result from the simple test kit using saliva or blood sample. He/she will be recommended to take a confirmation test in a medical center if the result is positive, the report said, adding that the simple and reliable service is expected to help raise the rate of HIV-testing among high-risk groups.

The service is part of the Healthy Markets project funded by the U.S. Government via the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by PATH, a non-governmental organization operating in the field of health care. The service has been included in national HIV/AIDS prevention and control programs of 16 countries worldwide.

Nguyen Hoang Long, head of the Health Ministry’s HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Department, said the test kit is as convenient as other quick tests for pregnancy or diabetes.

Around 1,000 HIV cases were detected in Vietnam last year, falling sharply from 18,000 in 2010. HIV-linked deaths also dropped to 2,000 last year from 3,200 in 2010.

As of end-June this year, there were 227,225 HIV-positive people and 85,753 AIDS patients in the Southeast Asian nation, according to the Ministry of Health on August 9.

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