Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - New HIV risk

New HIV risk

New HIV risk

A large population of young people coupled with more youths moving away from home early for economic reasons, could lead to a resurgence of HIV/AIDS in Cambodia, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has warned.

In a press release accompanying the launch of the Most at Risk Young People Survey 2010 yesterday, the ministry’s Inter-departmental Committee on AIDS and Drugs noted that “40 percent of all new HIV infections globally are reported to be among young people aged 15-24”.
“While Cambodia is experiencing relative success in preventing new HIV infections, with around 35 percent of Cambodia’s population aged between 10 and 24 years, a potential resurgence of the epidemic among most-at-risk-populations, particularly involving young people, is raising new concern.”
According to the report, which surveyed 2,490 respondents aged 10 to 24 and deemed to be among those “most at risk”, a “key problem faced by young people is the need for economic migration from family and community.
“This exposes young people to unsafe behaviour related to drug use, alcohol and unsafe sexual practices that can lead to HIV infection.”
Pen Saroeun, director of the School Health Department at the ministry, said officials were concerned that an increase in irresponsible behaviour such as “drinking and taking drugs” was placing teenagers at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS.
“At the present time, we all see our teenagers are careless. This makes us worry and we conducted the survey to find out the reasons,” he said.
Ulrike Gilbert-Nandra, HIV specialist for UNICEF, said by email that HIV prevention methods need to be “better tailored to meet the needs of young people, including adolescents under the age of 18 years”.
“The last surveys on HIV prevalence related to injecting drug use, sex work or male-to-male sex indicate that many of these populations are young,” she said.

MOST VIEWED

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman

  • China-Cambodia tourism forum held

    The Cambodian tourism sector must be prepared to welcome a growing number of Chinese tourists, as they lead the globe in the number of outbound travellers and were responsible for the most visitors to the Kingdom last year, the country’s tourism minister said on