Fifty-four percent of Khmers never talk about sex, according to a BBC World Service
Trust study on knowledge, attitudes and practices on sexual health and reproduction
While four out of five people knew anyone could get HIV/AIDS, over three-quarters
believed they were at no or low risk. Only 24 percent of Cambodians surveyed had
ever used a condom during sex.
The BBCWST released the results of its research on July 20, ahead of a media blitz
on AIDS awareness. The study surveyed 2,215 Khmers between the ages of 18 and 35
over 21 provinces.
Over 44 percent of those questioned didn't know that condoms could be used for birth
control. Some observers at the presentation feared the stress on condom use in the
area of commercial sex had raised an association between contraception and prostitution.
Part of the media campaign, a TV spot will show one young Khmer overcoming her embarrassment
to buy condoms. An actress bows out of filming after getting the role and her replacement
suggests that embarrassment was the probable cause.
Kheav Monika knows that some women will question her role in the spot because "Khmer
ladies are so shy". She wants to show that Khmer women can move past their embarrassment.
In September a new hospital drama series created by Mathew Robinson (former head
of BBC's soap Eastenders) will be aired on prime-time TV5.
It follows four young medical students as they train and practice. Two weekly half-hour
episodes will highlight issues such as sexual health, reproduction, gender inequality
and drug abuse.
The series is filmed on a purpose-built studio set in Phnom Penh.