The National Centre for HIV/AIDS, Dermatology and STD (NCHADS) launched a campaign on January 27 to raise awareness in a bid to curb the spread of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Cambodia.

The campaign includes 10 educational videos with 15 episodes, images of to 150 educational messages, 15 educational dramas, and extensive digital advertising.

“These videos reflect current social, cultural and romantic aspects in the context of the youth, and our target population groups,” said the Ministry of Health's NCHADS director Ouk Vichea.

He added that the creation of the promotional materials took almost a year, and was done in collaboration with several civil society organisations. The purpose of the campaign is to provide people with awareness of reproductive health, especially relating to HIV and STIs. The campaign will provide essential information for target groups, including women working in entertainment services, men having sex with men (MSM), transgender people and drug users.

He continued that the story titled “Why I”, which was posted on the Defend Yourself Facebook page on January 20, had attracted up to 1.7 million views in just its first week.

The centre hopes that by watching these videos, all viewers, especially high-risk groups and other at-risk populations, will receive specific information on the prevention, care and treatment of HIV and STIs, and will change any risky behaviour and be safe. They will also be aware of the access to services related to HIV/AIDS that are available.

In Cambodia, the prevalence of HIV among the general population aged 15-49 accounted for 0.5 per cent. However, the prevalence among at-risk groups remains high, with the prevalence of HIV among women working in the entertainment industry at 4.9 per cent (2022), MSM at 4.0 per cent (2019) and some transgender groups at 9.6 per cent (2019). Up to 15.2 per cent of intravenous drug users (2017), are HIV positive, according to NCHADS.