International Donors Scale Back HIV/AIDS Funding to Cambodia as Country Achieves Prevention Targets
The Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, USAID and the United Kingdom's Department for International Development have decided to scale back HIV prevention funding in Cambodia, Xinhua/People's Daily reports. The Cambodian-language newspaper Koh Santepheap reported Thursday that the organizations made the decision because the country reportedly has achieved satisfactory progress in curbing its HIV/AIDS epidemic. HIV prevalence has declined from about 3.3% in the 1990s to about 0.9% in 2005.
"The reduction in aid does not mean they have to end HIV/AIDS prevention activities," UNAIDS Representative Pasi Rajander said during a course on HIV/AIDS prevention and labor law held from Sept. 18 to Sept. 20 at the National Center for Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. "In fact, the ... government of Cambodia has enough capacity to carry out on their own the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS," Rajander added.
Mean Chhi Vun, director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Dermatology and STD, said the health ministry plans to increase the number of voluntary confidential counseling and testing centers from 185 to 190 across the
country by the end of 2007, up from 150 centers in 2006.
More than 70,000 people have been tested at the centers this year, and 5% tested HIV-positive, Mean added. Those who are tested at the centers will receive prevention and treatment counseling, according to the local Kampuchea Thmey newspaper, Xinhua/People's Daily reports (Xinhua/People Daily, 9/20).
NGO Releases Incorrect Data on HIV/AIDS in Cambodia, Newspaper Reports
In related news, the nongovernmental organization Save the Children Australia recently released some inaccurate data about HIV/AIDS in Cambodia, the Cambodia Daily newspaper said Thursday, Xinhua/People's Daily reports. According to the newspaper, the group cited HIV/AIDS prevalence in Cambodia as being the highest in Southeast Asia and estimated that 140,000 Cambodian children would be orphaned due to AIDS-related causes by 2010. SCA also incorrectly estimated that there are 164,000 HIV-positive Cambodians and that an estimated 51,000 AIDS orphans in the country are under age 15.
SCA Country Director Nigel Tricks on Tuesday apologized for the inaccurate data, saying they came from his organization's main office in Melbourne, Australia, and had not been updated. "Cambodia is one of the world's few success stories," Tricks said. SCA estimates there are 65,000 HIV-positive people in Cambodia and 6,000 AIDS orphans under age 15, he added. According Teng Kunthy, secretary-general of Cambodia's National AIDS Authority, there are an estimated 67,200 people older than age 15 living with HIV/AIDS in Cambodia, and it is unclear how many children have been orphaned as a result of the disease (Xinhua/People's Daily, 9/20).