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Aids group seeks help from local businesses

Aids group seeks help from local businesses

AS Cambodia's sex industry moves underground, the National Aids Authority (NAA) wants to enlist private businesses in its fight against unsafe sex industry practices.

Teng Kunthy, the secretary general of the NAA, told the Post that Cambodia needs to alter its strategy as the sex industry moves from the brothels to the karaoke bars and beer gardens.

There needs to be a new focus on making sure private businesses provide sex education and are better integrated into health services, the NAA says.

"We think that the change of behaviours is a new challenge,  as high-risk behaviours become associated with beer promotion and mobile work. As a result, we need to make connections with the private sector," Teng Kunthy said.

"Although Cambodia adopted the HIV/Aids law in 2002, enforcement and implementation in workplaces and the private sector is weak," an NAA report said.

"This is especially important to gain access to businesses where there is a high reluctance to implement HIV preventive measures."

Teng Kunthy said that the construction sector in Cambodia poses a particular problem for the NAA.

Construction in Cambodia is typically based on small companies that hire male workers for short-term construction projects. The highly mobile nature of these workers makes it hard to ensure that the private sector is supplying the necessary HIV/Aids education, making workers aware of the dangers of sex with prostitutes.

The report said that Cambodia's HIV rate for people aged 15 to 49 fell from 1.9 percent in 2003 to 0.9 percent in 2007.

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