6 Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

Where we are

Photo: UNFPA


HIV prevalence in the Lao PDR is quite low, though the number of new cases has increased at a rate of about 1,000 per year. Condom use among female sex workers was at 92.5% in 2012, just shy of the 95% target set for 2015. Knowledge about HIV/AIDS, however, is unequally disseminated, with men more informed than women. Anti-retroviral treatment (ART) is still low, with only 55.4% of those who need it receiving the treatment.

The Lao PDR has made great strides toward halting the spread of malaria, with incidence and mortality in steep decline. Malaria mortality per 100,000 population has declined from 7.1 in 2000 to 0.3 in 2011. Malaria prevention strategies are similarly successful. The National Bed Net Survey in 2011 found that 98% of children sleep under a bed net of some kind. In addition, virtually all children with malaria were treated.

The country has already met the 2015 targets for incidence, prevalence and mortality rates for tuberculosis, though a national TB prevalence survey in 2010/2011 indicated the prevalence of TB was nearly two times higher than previously estimated.

Meeting the targets

While the prevention of new HIV infections will remain the priority in Lao PDR, care and support services, including antiretroviral treatment, need to be scaled up. The full package of services needs to be expanded and sustained among appropriate target populations. Blood transfusion services should ensure proper cross-matching, and the following of proper guidelines in administering blood and blood products.

Combating malaria and TB on a sustained basis requires new drugs to fight resistant malarial parasites and new strains of tuberculosis that are multi-drug-resistant and associated with HIV infection. Availability of insecticide-treated bed nets also needs to be expanded.  Funding sources for tuberculosis and malaria control require more diversification, since heavy reliance on donor funding make both programmes potentially vulnerable to reversal of their achievements.

Targets for MDG6
  1. Halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS
    • HIV prevalence among population aged 15-24 years
    • Condom use at last high-risk sex
    • Proportion of population aged 15-24 years with comprehensive correct knowledge of HIV/AIDS
    • Ratio of school attendance of orphans to school attendance of non-orphans aged 10-14 years
  2. Achieve, by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it
    • Proportion of population with advanced HIV infection with access to antiretroviral drugs