H.E. MR. PRAM GIA
DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER
OF THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIET NAM
HEAD OF THE DELEGATION OF VIET NAM
AT THE 26TH SPECIAL
OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
New York, 27 June 2001
Let me, on behalf of the Government of Viet Nam, extend to you and all delegates our warmest greetings.
The devastation caused by HIV/AIDS is already so clear to all. Spreading across continents and countries, the pandemic has not spared our own. In Viet Nam, since 1990, we have detected more than 36,000 cases of infection, accounting for about 0,1 % of the world's total, among them more than 5,000 have developed AIDS and more than 3,000 have died. Certainly, the real number of infected people is many times higher. The prevailing situation presents us representing Governments, social organisations and scientific circles the question what we must do to realize the commitment made by the world's leaders last September at this very meeting hall of the United Nations to halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015. We hope that on the basis of our common concerns and genuine efforts towards this end, we will be able to agree on a balanced final Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS which will constitute a great source of inspiration for national, regional and global efforts in fighting this fatal tragedy.
Let me briefly summarize the measures Viet Nam has been undertaking for the past 10 years to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Considering the prevention work crucial, we have been focusing our efforts on communication and education on HIV/AIDS and on prevention measures for all walks of life, especially for groups having high-risk behaviours. As a result, about 60% of the population have been equipped with the basic knowledge of HIV/AIDS and prevention measures. In addition, the Government has been strengthening measures of ensuring safety in health care services. We have tried to mobilize to the maximum available resources. Still, the number of HIV infected people is increasing rapidly. It is projected that by 2005, there will be more than 200,000 people infected with HIV in our country, nearly 6 times more than now. The situation can be worse in the absence of effective measures. We agree with the statement that poverty, unemployment, drug abuse, the lack of knowledge and unsafe sexual behaviours constitute the main factors leading to the spread of HIV/AIDS. Our experience shows that in order to effectively fight the spread of this killing disease, the following are essential:
-First, the strong commitment of the leadership at all levels, who must consider fighting HIV/AIDS an urgent and long-term socio-economic task;
-Second, a multi-sectoral approach considering fighting HIV/AIDS the task of not only the health branch but also many other ministries and branches, various social organisations and the communities under the Government's leadership;
-Third, the integration of the fight against HIV/AIDS into the fight against drug and the control of unsafe sexual behaviours, especially among the adolescents. It must be emphasized that success of the fight against drug and the control of unsafe sexual behaviours are decisive for the success of the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Viet Nam welcomes and supports the efforts of the international community in which the United Nations plays an important and indispensable role in the fight against HIV/AIDS. We highly appreciate the tireless efforts made by scientists worldwide in the search of a vaccine and special drugs which can save mankind from the scourge of the plague. We call upon developed countries to increase assistance to poor developing countries in terms of expertise and resources. We appeal to pharmaceutical companies, for humanism, for the life of the unfortunate, to adopt policies aimed at making necessary treatment drugs available to the poor countries at low prices. On its part, Viet Nam commits itself to co-operating with all countries, especially neighbouring and other regional countries, with international organisations in the common fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS.
On behalf of the Vietnamese Government and people, I would like to express our sincere thanks to the United Nations, especially the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS-UNAIDS, to countries and international organisations worldwide for their effective co-operation and assistance.