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 supported in Antiretroviral Therapy Treatment Center of Sethathirath Hospital, Vientiane Capital. On World AIDS Day 2018, Provincial Health Offices in Khammouane and Champasak were launched activities in cooperation with Provincial Health Department of two provinces.
Laos remains one of the South East Asian Countries in terms of new HIV infection cases. The incidence of HIV is increasing. From 2010, estimations of the annual number of new infections has been above 1000 and will continue to rise. It was about 1400 of new infections in 2018. The HIV epidemic is centered in specific key populations with high risk of HIV. Since 2010, the main cause of HIV transmission has been sexual contacts. In 2018, over 73% of newly infected got HIV through sexual contacts. Men who have with men is the second mode of HIV transmission, 24% in 2018. Most of the newly registered cases of HIV infection are among young people (ages 25-34).
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 2018, an estimated 12,028 Laotians are living with HIV, out of the 6,5 million total population. An estimated 1,400 new HIV infections occurred in 2018. Gender prevalence amongst adults (15-49) shows men at 60% compared to women at 40%. Out of the 12,028 Laotians living with HIV, approximately 8,638 are on treatment.
Sources: The Center of HIV/AIDS and STI, HIV/AIDS Report in 2018.
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