Norwegian humanitarian group Redd Barna began a nation-wide training program recently
to teach 1,505 teachers, doctors, nurses and medical assistants about the dangers
of AIDS. The program includes lectures, distribution of posters and pamphlets and
the broadcast of an AIDS awareness song which will be aired every Friday ontelevision.
Astrid Pillay, president of Redd Barna said the best way to combat the spread of
the killer disease was through education.
In conjunction with the Association of Cambodia, 25,000 condoms per month are being
distributed to commercial sex workers in the red light district of Toul Kork and
other entertainment areas around the city.
Pillay stated that, "teachers and doctors and nurses are crucial to successfully
communicating to people or students information about the dangers of AIDS and way
to prevent the virus."
According to a recent survey conducted by Redd Barna of 280 commercial sex workers
at Toul Kork, 82 percent said they had heard about AIDS. Seventy percent said they
were aware that a condom could help protect them and 68 per cent said they requested
that their customers use the prophylactics. But some medical officials still estimate
the number of prostitutes infected with sexually transmitted diseases is as high
as 60 to 70 percent, indicating that regular condom use was still low.
The first case of the AIDS virus wasn't detected in Cambodia until 1991 but the disease
has spread rapidly since and now up to 15 percent of city prostitutes are believed
to carry the virus.