AHF started its activities in Laos in 2018 by supporting ART decentralization in close cooperation with the Center of HIV/AIDS and STI and health care facilities under the Ministry of Health. Currently AHF Laos carries out HIV testing and clinical programs in the country as well as actively promoting condom use by means of public awareness campaigns. AHF Laos is providing diagnostics, prevention and treatment of opportunistic infections. In most of the regions, AHF Laos has a collaboration HIV prevention and testing program with the provincial health department in Vientiane Capital, Khammouane, and Champasak provinces to increase access through the health facility outreach, community-based testing, and health facility-based testing. In 2019, only six we started the program we tested for 12,000 people who were migrant workers, men who have sex with men, female sex workers, prisoners, and drug users. We distributed about 100,000 LOVE condoms to prevention HIV including other sexually transmission infections. Our peers in the treatment sites in these provinces have the main roles to follow up the missed-appointment patients and provide information on how to live with HIV infection with good adherence to antiretroviral therapy in improvement retention in care and viral suppression.
Challenges to controlling the HIV epidemic include: limited access to affordable condoms and HIV testing, stigma surrounding men having sex with men (MSM) and PLHIV. Even though more than half of new HIV registered cases are from heterosexual transmission, prevention and testing programs targeting the general population are still scarce.
In 2019, an estimated 12,000 Laotians are living with HIV, out of the 6,5 million total population. An estimated 1,400 new HIV infections occurred in 2019. Gender prevalence amongst adults (15-49) shows men at 60% compared to women at 40%. Out of the 12,000 Laotians living with HIV, approximately 10,000 are on treatment.
Sources: The Center of HIV/AIDS and STI, HIV/AIDS Report in 2018.
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