100% Condom Use Program Launched in Lao Cai
LAO CAI, September 27, 2012 -- With the approval from Lao Cai People's Committee, the provincial Department of Health and HIV/AIDS Control Center have announced the official launch of the 100% Condom Use Program in Lao Cai city and in Sa Pa district with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development under the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
The 100% Condom Use Program lays strong importance on the role of local governments as the leader, coordinator and supporter, the active involvement by local branches and social organizations and the commitment and coordination among donors and other international partners in the advocacy and support for building a feasible policy framework for the the 100% Condom Use Program in the locality.
"The implementation of the program will significantly help in reducing the transmission of HIV through sex in Sa Pa District," said Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Hinh, Deputy Chairman of Sa Pa District People's Committee at the launch ceremony.
Epidemiological research in Vietnam so far has suggested that the rate of HIV transmission through sex is second high only to that through injection drug use (IDU) In Lao Cai, around 60% of HIV infection cases identified are among the IDU population and 35 percent are through unsafe sex (in which condoms are not used or used improperly).
The 100% Condom Use Program is one of the interventions to prevent the infection with sexually-transmitted diseases, including HIV, that are related to unsafe sexual behaviours. The program will help ensure that condoms are always available in entertainment and lodging establishments and that condoms are 100% used in sex, regardless among sex partners or between female sex workers and their clients. In addition to prevention of HIV affection, condoms are also effective as a contraceptive method that helps reduce abortion and unwanted pregnancy cases.
"We totally agree with the implementation of the program and will work closely with the health branch to implement it through providing training to our policemen and owners of entertainment and lodging establishments on harm reduction," said Mr. Nguyen Van Hoan, Head of the Provincial Police Division for Administrative Management of Social Order.
In Lao Cai, the 100% Condom Use Program is carried out in Lao Cai city and Sa Pa town. This program will be implemented until September 2013, when it is handed over to the provincial HIV/AIDS Control Centre and continued with provincial government funding.
Lao Cai is the third province in Vietnam where the 100% Condom Use Program has been implemented after An Giang and Can Tho city. Lao Cai and Nghe An were selected to apply the extended 100% condom use model after a survey and needs assessment were carried out by a PEPFAR delegation in late 2011 and early 2012.