Dr. Nguyen Van Kinh presents at TREAT Asia’s “Management of HIV-Hepatitis C co-Infection” training in Vietnam in July 2014 In October 2014, Vietnam became the first country in Asia to officially commit to the “90-90-90” targets set by UNAIDS—that by 2020 90% of people living with HIV will know their HIV status; 90% of people with diagnosed HIV infection will be on antiretroviral therapy (ART); and 90% of all people on treatment will have undetectable levels of HIV in their body. At the time Vietnam made this commitment, just one-third of all people living with HIV in the country were on treatment.1 This rate has improved since then—currently more than half of the almost 260,000 people living with HIV in Vietnam are on ART.2
On the front lines of Vietnam’s efforts to curb the HIV epidemic is the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases (NHTD) in Hanoi. Treating both adults and children, NHTD has been designated by the Vietnam National HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Program as the lead clinical center responsible for HIV treatment in the country. The hospital directly cares for more than 1,800 patients on ART, including first- and second-line medicine regimens, and receives many new HIV patients every year. As the main referral center for northern Vietnam, it provides guidance and direction on diagnostic and treatment monitoring testing, ART regimen selection, and counseling, and it transfers patients to provincial treatment centers for care when appropriate.
“A key priority of our work has been to improve our local understanding of the HIV epidemic in Vietnam, so we can most effectively address the epidemic.”
“A key priority of our work has been to improve our local understanding of the HIV epidemic in Vietnam, so we can most effectively address the epidemic,” said Dr. Nguyen Van Kinh, the director of NHTD and Principal Investigator for TREAT Asia research. “Injecting drug use is still a major reason for new HIV infections in Vietnam. And sex workers and men who have sex with men are also at high risk of infection. Much of our work is focused on prevention and support for these groups,” said Dr. Kinh of Vietnam’s HIV epidemic. Dr. Kinh has been working in the Vietnam National HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Program since its inception in 2000 and is currently Chairman of the Ministry of Health’s HIV/AIDS treatment sub-committee. He is also head of the Infectious Diseases Department of Hanoi Medical University.
NHTD joined the TREAT Asia HIV Observational Database (TAHOD) as part of the US National Institutes of Health’s International Epidemiology Databases to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA) consortium in 2010. It has collaborated with TREAT Asia network investigators on multiple studies on non-communicable diseases, hepatitis C co-infection, tuberculosis, and drug resistance. The hospital team also takes part in TREAT Asia trainings to improve its research capacity and clinical management practices.
“Being in the TREAT Asia network has benefited our staff and our program, and helps to improve the representation of Vietnam in HIV research activities in Asia and collaboration with other countries,” said Dr. Kinh. “We are especially happy to participate in the hepatitis C co-infection studies, which have built capacity for our clinical and laboratory staff.”
TREAT Asia and NHTD staff meet at NHTD to discuss their ongoing HIV observational and drug resistance research collaborations
NHTD will be welcoming its network partners to Hanoi when the 2016 TREAT Asia annual meeting is held there in October. This meeting brings together TREAT Asia’s adult and pediatric network clinicians, researchers, and other partners to discuss the accomplishments and challenges of the past year, and the programmatic objectives for the years to come. Dr. Kinh and other NHTD staff are looking forward to this opportunity to strengthen and continue the hospital’s many fruitful collaborations with TREAT Asia and its partners.
1 UNAIDS Report: Viet Nam is the first country in Asia to commit to new HIV treatment targets