The northern province of Bac Ninh has become the first locality nationwide to provide health insurance support to all people living with HIV/AIDS and taking antiretroviral (ARV) treatment.
The assistance is part of the province’s efforts to fulfil the UN 90-90-90 goal, which targets 90% of all people living with HIV knowing their HIV status, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV receiving sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy achieving viral suppression.
The support is sourced from the leftover funds from the 2016 health insurance fund.
According to the provincial Centre for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control, as of the end of April 2017, the province had 2,448 HIV-infected patients and more than 1,000 people living with AIDS, while 958 had died from AIDS.
In the first four months of this year, Bac Ninh recorded 58 new cases of HIV infection.
Since 2015, Bac Ninh has welcomed two projects for HIV/AIDS prevention, including a Global Fund project to supply free ARV to HIV/AIDS patients. However, the supply will be cut off from July 1, 2017 when ARV will be covered by health insurance. This will pose difficulties to the needy, most of whom are living in poverty.
Along with strengthening communications on HIV/AIDS prevention, the province plans to popularise the rights of health insurance card holders, especially among high-risk groups.
However, many HIV/AIDS patients still struggle to buy health insurance due to a lack of legal documents.