HIV Risks Among Injecting Drug Users in Vietnam: A Review of the Research Evidence
Khoi Do, Victor Minichiello and Rafat Hussain
Affiliation: Faculty of The Professions, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia.
Injecting drug use plays a critical role in the transmission of HIV in Vietnam. This paper provides a
comprehensive review of studies on risks of HIV infection among injecting drug users (IDUs) in Vietnam. Current
research evidence shows that the age at which drug initiation starts is becoming younger and the transition time between
non-injecting to injecting drug use becoming shorter. The practice of needle sharing and unprotected sex was quite
common among the IDUs. Although most of the IDUs generally had good knowledge of HIV transmission routes, most
IDUs were not aware of their infection status. Data from a national surveillance programme shows that a third of the IDUs
were HIV positive. Amongst all HIV positive cases, almost two-thirds had a history of intravenous drug use. A number of
studies have identified a range of risk factors and barriers to minimize the risk of HIV infection in IDUs. This paper
discusses these issues and makes recommendations for changes to HIV/AIDS policies, programme interventions as well
as future research on the topic.
Keywords: Injecting drug user, HIV, AIDS, condom usage, sex work, Vietnam, IDU, transmission, infection, risk behaviors.
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