My article "AIDS Poses Grave Threat to Cambodian Economy",(published in
your last issue), was written to draw attention to the broad socio-economic implications
of wide-spread AIDS.
Unfortunately, the statistical tabulation was transformed when published into
a bar chart which gave an over-exaggerated negative impression. Current data on HIV
positive persons concerns statistically insignificant numbers. Carefully controlled
research by key sub groups needs to be carried out before one can arrive at a comprehensive
reliable indicator of HIV prevalence in the country. Over-emphasis of limited data
risk counter-productive reactions on the part of the authorities, something no concerned
What can be definitely said is that there are no recorded cases of AIDS in Cambodia
and that the number of HIV positive since the first recorded instance in June 1991
totals less than 130 examples. The situation calls for rapid emphasis on prevention
programs and education which are not served by a misleading bar line that visually
distorts and can suggest an unwarranted panic situation.
I trust this will set the record straight.