About 0.59% of Vietnamese Fishery Workers are HIV-Positive, Prevalence Could Rise by 2013, Survey Says

An estimated 33,000 of the total 5.5 million workers in Vietnam’s fishery sector, or about 0.59%, were living with HIV in 2008, according to a survey released Tuesday by Vietnam’s fishery program, VNA/VOV News reports (VNA/VOV News, 5/27). The report also predicted that the number of HIV-positive people in Vietnam’s fishery sector could rise to 58,000 by 2013. According to a second survey, conducted simultaneously, a lack of knowledge about the disease has contributed to the fishery sector’s relatively high HIV prevalence. Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as part of its Strengthening of Fisheries Administration conducted the survey with support from the Danish International Development Agency.

Vu Van Tam, deputy minister for agriculture and rural development, said that his ministry will use the results of the surveys to develop HIV prevention and control strategies for the industry. Peter Lysholt Hansen, Danish ambassador to Vietnam, added that HIV/AIDS could jeopardize the recent growth in Vietnam’s agricultural sector because the disease poses high treatment costs for families, as well as costs from a weakened labor force. The surveys recommended that Vietnam address HIV/AIDS among fishery workers by strengthening a communications campaign and launching a program to provide condoms for high-risk groups (VietNamNet Bridge, 5/27).