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Kingdom’s reduction of HIV infections lauded

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Volunteers distribute leaflets about HIV/AIDS and condoms along the riverside in the capital’s Daun Penh district in 2021. Hong Menea

Kingdom’s reduction of HIV infections lauded

Cambodia is considered one of the seven most successful countries in the world at reducing the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, a senior health official claimed.

Ministry of Health secretary of state Sea Huong made the statement at the November 29 opening ceremony of a consultative workshop on “Findings and recommendations of the progress of the Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS and STD Prevention and Care 2021-2025”.

He said that with the active participation and support of development partners, donors, civil society organisations as well as national and sub-national administrations, Cambodia has achieved remarkable outcomes in the fight, when compared to other countries in the region.

“According to an estimate by UNAIDS, we have turned a prevalent rate of 1.1 per cent in 2003 into just 0.6 per cent in 2021, one of the largest reductions in Asia. We are also one of just seven nations to achieve the 90-90-90 targets in 2017,” he said.

He added that the ministry has made a significant contribution to reducing the poverty of people in line with the government’s Rectangular Strategy, to enhance their quality of life and reduce death and illness rates.

“We have enhanced their quality of life by strengthening health services, and providing quality care under the National Social Security Fund [NSSF] programme. We offer social protection and heightened ethics which are free of discrimination and people-centred. This includes those living with HIV and groups at risk of contracting it,” he said.

He added that when compared to the 95-95-95 targets it had set for itself by 2025, Cambodia had achieved 84-99-97. This meant that 84 per cent of HIV positive people were aware of their status, 99 per cent of of all people with diagnosed HIV infections were receiving sustained antiretroviral therapy, and 97 per cent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy have viral suppression.

“This splendid results did not occur on their own, but because of a collective effort to implement the Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS and STD Prevention and Care 2021-2025,” he said.

National Aids Authority (NAA) chairman Ieng Moly warned in September that HIV was spreading from around 11,000 people (key people and their partners) who have not yet tested for the virus and entered the healthcare system.

He said the government vowed to hit the 95-95-95 targets and ensure that new infections were fewer than 300 by 2025. Cambodia’s response to the spread was regarded as success in the region and the world, he added.

The NAA stated that 1,100 people contract HIV each year, 53 per cent of them men who have sex with men.

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