HIV and Injecting Drug Users in Vietnam: An Overview of Policies and Responses

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Ahmed, T
Long, NT
Huong, PTT
Stewart, DE
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2014
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Abstract

The HIV epidemic in Vietnam is fueled by injecting drug use. Since HIV emerged, because of a law-enforcement-focused drug policy and response, injecting drug users (IDUs) frequently experience drug detention and compulsory treatment. It has taken more than a decade to shift the focus from punitive to liberal policies. This overview presents a brief discussion on policies, responses, and experiences to identify implications. Related literature including government policies, peer-reviewed articles, and reports has been reviewed. The HIV epidemic in IDUs accelerated rapidly in an environment characterized by a lack in understanding and recognition of significance. There was limited leadership and weak direction to implement a countrywide response. Policies and responses gradually shifted to a harm reduction approach and recognized the need for harmonization, relating common features of drug and HIV. The review identifies that government leadership is crucial for supportive policies and long-term strategies. A multi-sectoral collaboration and continuous resource allocation with national priorities is essential to impact on the epidemic. In this review the context of these issues in policies and responses are highlighted and discussed, which gradually can lead towards the development of a substantial response for the drug use-driven HIV epidemic in Vietnam.

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World Medical & Health Policy

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6

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4

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© 2014 Policy Studies Organization. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: HIV and Injecting Drug Users in Vietnam: An Overview of Policies and Responses, World Medical & Health Policy, Vol. 6(4), pp. 395-418, 2014 which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/wmh3.122. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving (http://olabout.wiley.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-828039.html)

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Health promotion

Policy and administration

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