Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - HIV therapy adherence, timing vital: top official

HIV therapy adherence, timing vital: top official

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Villagers positive for HIV in Roka village and commune in Sangke district of Battambang province in 2014. Heng Chivoan

HIV therapy adherence, timing vital: top official

Anti-retroviral therapy refers to the use of drugs that inhibit the enzymes that HIV needs to break down and transmit to other cells. A specific plan of action to treat the infected and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in Cambodia was established in 2003, when the Ministry of Health began treating patients for the first time at the Moung Russey Referral Hospital in Battambang province’s southeast.

Ouk Vichea, head of the National Centre for HIV/AIDS, Dermatology, and Sexually Transmitted Diseases addressed a July 29 conference on The importance of managing anti-retroviral therapy according to national-level guidelines. The programme was organised by the Cambodian Red Cross.

Vichea added that for anti-retroviral therapy to be successful, patients must begin treatment on the same day that they test positive.

“We must not wait because the sooner we treat it, the more effective it is at reducing the spread of HIV into the blood,” he said.

According to the National Guidelines for Antiretroviral Therapy for Adults, introduced by the Ministry of Health in 2012, it was important for patients to take their antiretroviral drugs regularly. Patients should be sure to take the dosages recommended by their doctor, as it was only effective if managed correctly.

The guidelines said that poor adherence to their prescribed course of medicine was the leading cause of failed treatment, and could lead to the HIV virus becoming resistant to the drugs.

Vichea also said that no medication has been discovered which can completely cure HIV/AIDS, but the ministry had the drugs needed to curb sub-variants of the virus which might develop in patients.

“The use of anti-HIV medication restores our immunity systems – in which CD4 white blood cells take on the role of soldiers protecting the body of the patient. If immunity declines, the virus will allow opportunistic diseases like TB and meningitis to attack the patient,” he said.

He encouraged those who suspect that may have been at risk of infection to get tested as soon as possible. Early treatment achieved far better results than waiting for the virus to weaken the immune system.

“Timely treatment can help reduce severe illness and even deaths. With early intervention and the correct treatment, they will be every bit as healthy as any other person,” Vichea added.

Pok Savoeun, chief of National Clinic of dermatology and venereology at the national centre, reiterated that according to national guidelines, when its clients tested positive for the virus, the clinic must provide treatment immediately. If their condition looks good, the centre will provide anti-retroviral therapy.

He added that if HIV-infected persons were in poor health, the doctors may have to treat opportunistic infections.

Cambodia is committed to achieving the target of eliminating HIV infections and achieving viral suppression by 2025.


  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Siem Reap drain canal now ‘mangrove’ promenade

    A more than half a kilometre long stretch of canal in Siem Reap has been covered and turned into a promenade to attract visitors, said Ly Rasmey, secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, on September 16. The new pedestrianised

  • Angkor wildlife, aquarium park still to open October

    The Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium complex about 30km southeast of Siem Reap town with initial total investment of more than $70 million is reportedly still on track for an end-October opening. The park is located on a 100ha plot along National Road 6 in Kbon village, Khchas

  • Defence minister reaffirms Kingdom’s staunch support for One-China policy

    Minister of National Defence General Tea Banh has reaffirmed Cambodia’s unwavering support for the One-China policy. Tea Banh was speaking at the September 20 ceremonial handover of 117 vehicles and other military equipment donated by China’s defence ministry, held at Phnom Chumreay International Military Training

  • Deaths due to ‘lifestyle’ diseases rise in Kingdom

    The Ministry of Health has called on people to pay closer attention to their health to protect themselves from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which it said have caused high rates of deaths in the country. Ministry secretary of state York Sambath made the call at a

  • Textile industry minimum wage now $200

    The official minimum wage for workers in textile-related sectors including garment, footwear, and travel goods for 2023 was pegged at $198, with Prime Minister Hun Sen stepping in to add $2 to the total, making it $200 per month. The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training made the announcement