HIV Prevalence in Cambodia Decreases Since 1997
HIV prevalence in Cambodia has decreased from 3.2% in 1997 to 1.6% currently, according to figures from UNAIDS, VOA News reports. In addition, UNAIDS data indicate that HIV prevalence among commercial sex workers in the country has decreased from 40% in 1997 to 20% currently. According to Mean Chhi Vun -- director of Cambodia's National Center for HIV, AIDS, Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Infections -- the decrease in HIV prevalence in part is because of a plan that combines government efforts with the efforts of international finance agencies, academic institutions, and nongovernmental and community-based organizations. UNAIDS co-coordinator in Cambodia Tony Lisle said a main component of the plan is the 100% condom use program, which encourages condom use among sex workers. Dan Borapich -- spokesperson for Population Services International, which distributes subsidized condoms in the country -- said that PSI makes condoms available at supermarkets, pharmacies and other venues. The government also is sponsoring safer-sex advertisements on billboards, radio and television, according to VOA News. In addition, about 25,000 HIV-positive people in the country, or 80% of those who need treatment access, have access to antiretroviral drugs, according to Lisle. Grants from the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria purchase most antiretrovirals in the country, according to VOA News. Some experts have said that despite progress, HIV prevalence could increase among groups participating in high-risk sex, as well as injection drug users. In addition, stigma and discrimination against HIV-positive people continues to be an issue in Cambodia, VOA News reports (Byrne, VOA News, 3/22).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.