Front-line organizations fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS in Cambodia aim to have
100 blood testing and drug dispensing centers operating countrywide by the end of
next year, using 4 million euros ($US4.8 million) granted by the European Union.
Currently, centers have been opened in Phnom Penh, Kampong Cham, Takeo, Siem Reap,
Battambang and Svay Rieng provinces, which are each seeing 100-150 people per month
for counseling and testing; Kirivong and Ang Roka districts in Takeo and Sampov Meas
in Pursat, will follow, then Mondulkiri, Rattanakiri and Preah Vihear. The plan is
to have 80 centers operational by the end of this year. Provinces with the larger
populations are being targeted first.
An allocation of 600,000 euros is to buy the Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) medicine
for Takeo and Pursat.
So far about 4,300 people living with HIV/AIDS have received anti-retroviral drugs.
The aim is to have 6,000 people on ART by the end of this year, 10,000 next year
and 20,000 in 2009.
In addition to the European Union assistance, the Ministry of Health (MoH) has allocated
$36.5 million for consumer care programs and $22 million to buy ARTs, with funds
coming from the Global Fund to Fight Aids.
The major organizations involved in Cambodia are the MoH, National Center for HIV/AIDS,
Dermatology and STD (NCHAD), Health Net and AIDS Net.
NCHAD is in charge of consumer care and providing ART drugs; Health Net is responsible
for youth AIDS education; AIDS Net trains center staff and volunteers. The project
is monitored by the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Belgium.
Tia Phalla, secretary general at the National Aids Authority (NAA), said Cambodia
has the highest HIV/Aids prevalence in Southeast Asia, with one third of new infections
coming from mother to child transmission. The incidence was 2.6 percent of the population,
including 22,000 living with HIV/AIDS. Twenty or more people are infected each day.
About 90,000 people have already died from the disease and left more than 60,000
orphaned vulnerable children.