Reproductive Health Group in Cambodia Reports Increase in HIV Testing Among Women
A report released on Monday by the Reproductive Health Association of Cambodia found that 40,587 women in the country underwent HIV tests in 2008 -- up from 38,660 who were tested in 2007 -- the Phnom Penh Post reports. Blood tests are offered at no-cost at state and referral hospitals across Cambodia, the Post reports. RHAC said the increase in testing was in part because of an increase in reproductive health awareness campaigns.
Mean Chivoan -- director of the National Centre for HIV and AIDS, Dermatology and STD -- said that the government has distributed information about HIV/AIDS tests since 2001, giving information to community groups and garment factories. He said that the government will continue to promote tests among women -- particularly pregnant women -- because it believes such efforts are "important." Cheat Khemara, senior labor official at the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia, said the increase in testing among women is a reflection of a partnership between community groups and garment factories -- where about 300,000 Cambodian women are employed. He called on "all factories to help provide health facilities and services" at no-cost to employees and to "provide care to employees who have HIV/AIDS so that they have the mental strength to continue their work." Chea Mony, president of the Free Trade Union of Cambodia, reported that most garment factory workers are required to have a health check at the Labor Health Centre. He added, "Usually, women who work for factories do not understand the importance of having blood tests. They only go if they are helped or guided by NGO workers."
Chak Chenda, clinic manager at RHAC, said that the group is planning to publish a "guide book and leaflets on reproductive health to be distributed in communities and also organize a peer group education program" to bring trained volunteers to discuss reproductive health in communities (Leakhana, Phnom Penh Post, 3/18).