I just read the "Open Letter to Yasushi Akashi" in your edition of October
11, 1992. This letter states that "HIV has reached emergency level of at least
75 percent among blood donors, a rate of infection that is comparable to the rate
of neighbouring Thailand."
I have the chance of being the Head of the Transfusion Programme in Phnom Penh since
1990, and I can assure you that-fortunately-this number is absolutely wrong. Currently
we have tested around 7,685 blood donors and 30 have been confirmed seropositive,
which gives us a percentage of 0.39 percent. This rate is comparable to Thailand
where they have around 0.4% of HIV positive cases among their blood donors.
I would like to emphasize the discrepancy between the two numbers. We are very concerned
to see people speaking about AIDS in Cambodia with having reliable and cross-checked
sources of information. In a country where, two years ago, nobody had ever heard
about AIDS, the release of such inadequate and frightening information can have a
disastrous effect. Could you be kind enough to publish the correct data in your next
- Alain Rouvillois
Head of the Transfusion Programme, ICRC
The Editors respond: The Post regrets not correcting the typographical error that
was in the letter submitted to us.