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Reduced HIV testing costs a ‘positive move’

Reduced HIV testing costs a ‘positive move’

A UN-backed initiative has announced a reduction in the price of early infant HIV diagnostic tests, which, when employed in the Kingdom, could close the gap in Cambodia’s treatment program.

The Diagnostic Access Initiative, which consists of members of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and other global partners, announced yesterday the new 35 per cent cost reduction, which will lower the price of a finger prick test to $9.40.

“This is a very positive move,” said UNAIDS Cambodia director Marie-Odile Emond.

“We’ve seen very significant reduction in external funding for HIV, and we’ve had to re-prioritise and stretch resources.

With this discount, patients could still get the benefit of early diagnosis with the lowest possible cost.”

Earlier this year, the government pledged $1 million to Cambodia’s HIV treatment program with the allocated budget rising gradually to $1.5 million in 2017.

This is the first time, Emond said, that the government, which typically funds HIV basic prevention programs, has contributed financially to patient treatment.

“We have to ensure, however, that funding for HIV treatment and prevention continues to rise over the next five to 10 years as the cost for the program is quite expensive and the needs are not going down,” she said.

Cambodia could expect to benefit from the new price after the next test procurement period in 2016.

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