In Phnom Penh, the Chhouk Sar Clinic has teamed up with nonprofit FHI360 to kick off their “Test! Test!” campaign. The aim is to persuade those most at risk of HIV infection to get tested.
Over two days, August 25 and 26, the clinic is offering its services for free from 9 am to 4 pm. Yun Phearun, the executive director of the Chhouk Sar Association, is keen to stress the importance of this campaign.
“We’ve seen rising HIV infection rates, and we urgently need to tackle them,” he said.
As part of the drive, the clinic is ramping up HIV testing and rolling out fresh services. For those feeling a little anxious about coming into the clinic, there’s another option.
“We’ve made self-testing kits available for home use. They’re simple and they work with just a small sample of blood from a fingertip or a bit of saliva,” explained Phearun.
However, all test results must be returned to the clinic. If someone tests positive for HIV, the clinic follows a rigorous three-step confirmation process.
Phearun reassures: “If anyone is found to have HIV, they’ll be offered counselling and treatment straight away”.
The clinic is extending the testing opportunity to a variety of groups. Their main focus is on those most vulnerable, especially those already under their care. But they’re also keen to reach out to other groups at high risk.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender individuals have been identified as having especially high rates of HIV infection.
Statistics show that every quarter, there are from 150 to 180 new HIV infections.
To put this into context, 3.2 per cent of them are sex workers, while 4.9 per cent are men who have sex with men. The percentage among transgender individuals is even higher.
Additionally, drug users are becoming a significant concern, representing 17 per cent of the new HIV cases.
And it’s not only those sharing needles. Some drug users, partaking in group activities while under the influence, are having unprotected sex with multiple partners.
Phearun pointed out: “At our clinic, we’re detecting about two new HIV cases every day. Most of them are among the MSM and transgender communities”.
Beyond HIV testing, the Chhouk Sar Clinic also offers broad spectrum of health services, including STI tests, counselling, hormone treatments, and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Additionally, they care for conditions like cervical and prostate cancer.
The clinic’s message is clear. Protection is paramount.
Phearun urged: “I’d encourage all sexually active young people to use condoms and consider PrEP. It could prevent nearly all HIV infections”.
It’s a timely reminder for all about the importance of taking care of one’s health. The “Test! Test!” campaign isn’t just about the crucial health check. Those participating can expect a touch of fun with entertainment and snacks on offer. And if that wasn’t incentive enough, there’s also the chance to win some fantastic prizes.
For those thinking about paying a visit, the Chhouk Sar Clinic is easily accessible. You’ll find it at D001 and D003, Street 105, Bak Touk village, Toul Sangke I commune, Russey Keo district, Phnom Penh. It’s central, convenient, and committed to your health and well-being.