The Cambodian Red Cross (CRC) held a youth forum ahead of World AIDS Day, which falls on December 1, to encourage young people to work together towards the goal of ending AIDS in the Kingdom by 2025.

The forum was held at the University of Svay Rieng and brought together student speakers from the university and some others from Chea Sim University of Kamchaymear in neighbouring Prey Veng province.

The forum was presided over by CRC first deputy secretary-general Men Neary Sopheak on behalf of its president Bun Rany. Also in attendance were senior officials from the Ministry of Health.

The CRC representative said she appreciated the students’ effort to gain a greater understanding of the problems associated with HIV/AIDS.

“You have the courage and the intelligence to express your views and are committed to taking care of your physical and mental health … You are strongly committed to join the national effort to end AIDS by 2025,” she said.

“You have also expressed kindness and compassion by encouraging HIV-positive persons to be treated with equality and dignity in all areas of life along with the general population and to receive quality health check-ups and treatment services,” she added.

She noted that CRC president Bun Rany could not attend the event due to unspecified health problems.

“I appeal to everyone to please join hands to curb communicable diseases and end AIDS by 2025,” she stated.

She said that the young still must seek to understand new knowledge about preventing infections and stopping the spread of the virus to avert dangers to their family members, communities and society.

“Citizens who have had unsafe sex or suspect they may have potentially been exposed to HIV must seek medical services and get their blood tested for the virus … so that they can know in a timely manner whether they need additional medical care,” she said, citing Rany.

Neary Sopheak advised that pregnant women in this situation seek the services of an obstetrician during pregnancy at least four times for the sake of the health of the mothers and the infants, because there are treatments available for infected mothers that can prevent the spread of the virus to their babies.