Cambodian Red Cross (CRC) president Bun Rany applauded the government’s “success” in controlling the spread of various diseases including AIDS, while also appealing to all compatriots to join hands in ending the HIV epidemic by 2025.

Bun Rany made the appeal in a message marking World AIDS Day on December 1, observed this year with the theme “Putting ourselves to the Test: Achieving Equality to End HIV”. She called on people, especially the young, to remain vigilant and prevent HIV transmission.

“I am proud of the government’s success, and of the participation of all stakeholders. With a positive, responsible attitude, the government has provided medicine, equity cards and financial support to tens of thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS, keeping them happy and hopeful and allowing them to live dignified lives without discrimination,” she said.

She added that there are currently more than 4,000 new infections a day around the world, noting that in Cambodia there is an average of three.

Rany called on all compatriots, the private sector, national and international organisations to join forces in a single national movement to prevent communicable diseases and end the transmission of HIV by 2025.

“I want to encourage all of the public, especially the young, to remain aware of how to prevent the spread of HIV to protect ourselves, families, community and society as a whole,” she said.

She also asked people who suspected they had been exposed to HIV to seek counseling services and get tested in a timely manner so that they could receive treatment if they had contracted the virus.

“We must end discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS. Those who are in high-risk groups must continue to focus on preventing its transmission and that of other infectious diseases,” she added.

On November 30, Ieng Moly, chairman of the National AIDS Authority, addressed a video conference on the Asia-Pacific World AIDS Report 2022, which focused on “dangerous inequalities” and the regional launch of the UNAIDS’ World AIDS Day report.

He said that Cambodia has made significant progress towards ending the HIV threat but, owing to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, may not achieve its goal of 95 per cent of HIV-positive persons being aware of their status.

“Efforts to develop a high-risk population prevention programme are still insufficient to reduce the number of new infections to less than 365 cases per year. Investment in prevention remains limited,” he added.

Prime Minister Hun Sen also used World AIDS Day to praise the Kingdom’s achievements in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS. Cambodia once had one of the highest prevalence of HIV in the region, at 1.1 per cent, but this had been reduced to just 0.6 per cent in less than 20 years.

As of the second quarter of 2022, a total of 63,610 people living with HIV/AIDS were receiving free antiretroviral treatment at public hospitals, while 6,617 people living with HIV/AIDS received financial support.