Partnering with Vietnam in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS
On July 22, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Vietnam Minister of Justice Ha Hung Cuong signed the “Partnership Framework between the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Government of the United States for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control.” The Partnership Framework provides a five-year, joint strategic plan for cooperation by the Government of Vietnam, the U.S. Government, and other stakeholders to support a strategic and collaborative response to HIV, while supporting health services for people living with HIV/AIDS. In doing so, it also contributes to the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) global goals for prevention, care, and treatment.
The Partnership Framework provides a statement of mutual intention to reduce new HIV infections, improve HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment services, and mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS in Vietnam, while contributing substantially to fundamental health systems strengthening. Central to the Partnership Framework are the goals of providing health and social services for most-at-risk populations, as well as strengthening the capacity and involvement of non-governmental organizations, multilateral organizations, and the private sector.
Health diplomacy has been essential to building trust and improved relations between the U.S. and Vietnam. PEPFAR is the largest health program in Vietnam and has contributed over $400 million to support the prevention, care and treatment of HIV/AIDS among infected and affected most-at-risk populations since 2003. Though HIV prevalence in the general population remains low at an estimated 0.43%, HIV infection rates are at unacceptably high levels among most-at-risk populations, especially among people who inject drugs. The Framework illustrates the leadership of the Government of Vietnam to addressing its HIV epidemic, as well as its commitment to the broader health needs of its people. Recognizing the importance of achieving sustainability, the U.S. Government, through PEPFAR, will continue to support the health priorities laid out in the Partnership Framework.