The World Bank signed an agreement with Vietnam on Thursday to provide a grant worth $35 million to help the country combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Le Duc Thuy, governor of Vietnam’s central bank, said before the signing that HIV infections in the country were closely linked to its poverty. The non-refundable grant would be used to help halt the spread of the virus.
Last year the United States picked Vietnam and 14 other countries in Africa and the Caribbean for a $15 billion global AIDS initiative. With its rapid infection rate, Vietnam would receive an initial $10 million, U.S. officials said.
Vietnam, with a population of 82 million, reported last month that it now had 94,000 HIV/AIDS cases, a rise of 16 percent from the end of 2004.
The new grant is the biggest to Vietnam by the World Bank, one of Hanoi’s biggest donors.
Revision date: July 6, 2011
Last revised: by Sebastian Scheller, MD, ScD