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HIV Carriers in Vietnam Hike

The number of HIV carriers in Vietnam has soared 40 times over the past 10 years to current 241,000, according to Vietnam Economic Times on Tuesday.

The hike is due to the rise of social evils such as drug abuse and prostitution, the scarcity of HIV medicines, and the social discrimination against AIDS patients, the newspaper said.

Of the HIV sufferers, 95 percent are in the age bracket of 15-49, 8.3 percent aged 10-19, and 0.2 percent are children under five years of age. The main way of HIV transmission is drug injecting, which accounts for 60 percent of the total cases.

To cope with the disease, which is forecast to hit more than 311,000 local people by 2010, Vietnam has centered its efforts on raising public awareness, supervising HIV carriers, improving quality of HIV/AIDS treatment, better caring affected people, and increasing state budget on anti-disease activities.

The country has recently intensified propaganda about HIV/AIDS with contents expanding into areas of virtues, lifestyle and behavior, including promoting the fight against discrimination, and encouraging young people to use "ABC" preventive approach (Abstinence, Being faithful and Condom use) and keep away from such evils as drug addiction and prostitution.

(Xinhua News Agency March 8, 2005)

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