The Hanoitimes - When social insurance paid for HIV testing services, viral load, medical examination, HIV/AIDS patients with health insurance has increased.
Some 89% of HIV/AIDS patients treated with antiretroviral drug (ARV) in Vietnam have health insurance. The figure is expected to exceed 90% by the end of 2018.
The information was revealed at a workshop held by the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) Department of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control, in conjunction with international organizations in Hanoi on November 20.
The event was part of activities responding to the national action month for HIV/AIDS prevention 2018, with the aim of guiding the management and use of ARV medicine from health insurance funds in 2019 for HIV/AIDS treatment establishments.
Vietnam is the first country in Southeast Asia pledging to fulfill the 90-90-90 target for HIV/AIDS prevention and control initiated by UNAIDS. Vietnam’s rate of HIV-infected people has continued to decrease over the last 10 years.
The 90-90-90 goals mean that by 2020, 90% of HIV-infected people will be diagnosed, 90% of patients will have access to and receive ARV drugs, and 90% of people taking ARV drugs will have durable viral suppression.
According to the Department of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control, the health sector is rushing to prepare for the provision of ARV medicine with finance from the Health Insurance Fund as from January 1, 2019. Accordingly, after that date, 191 medical establishments will be provided with health-insured ARV medicine to treat around 48,000 patients.
According to Duong Thuy Anh, deputy chief of Department of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control, since 2017, when social insurance paid for HIV testing services, viral load, medical examination, HIV/AIDS patients with health insurance has increased.
Especially, since the beginning of 2018, after the Ministry of Health put forth the plan of selling health insurance to HIV/AIDS patient, local budgets received budget allocation from the central level to buy health insurance premiums for HIV/AIDS patients with a view to have 90% of HIV/AIDS patients covered with health insurance.
Ritu Singh, health director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) valued the experience of Vietnam in expanding its ARV management system with insurance health funds so that all HIV carriers and patients could easily access health services without financial barriers.
Resources from the Vietnamese government and localities are necessary for HIV patients to have ARV treatment, who often cannot afford health insurance, she added.
With the goal of 100% of HIV/AIDS patients covered by health insurance cards, Thuy Anh said that this is the ideal number and difficult to reach. However, the target of 95-98% is likely to be achieved in the next few years.