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International News

Cambodia on Track to Eliminate New HIV Infections by 2020, WHO Says

May 13, 2013

"Cambodia is on track to become one of the few countries in the world to successfully reverse its HIV epidemic and may eliminate new infections by 2020, the [WHO] said Friday," Agence France-Presse reports. "The Southeast Asian nation has reduced its HIV prevalence rate from a 1998 peak of 1.7 percent among people aged 15-49 to 0.7 percent in 2012 across the whole population, the WHO said in a joint statement with the Cambodian health ministry," the news agency writes. Almost 75,000 people are living with HIV in Cambodia, but "new infections have dropped from around 15,500 annually in the early 1990s to about 2,100 in 2009 and 1,000 in 2011, the statement said," AFP notes. However, the statement "cautioned the 2020 target could be missed without continued investment in HIV prevention and care for the sick," the news agency states, noting, "External partners fund 90 percent of the country's AIDS program, which costs just over $50 million a year" (5/10).

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Cambodia and HIV/AIDS
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Reader Comments:

Comment by: Ken Stockwell (New York) Mon., May. 13, 2013 at 1:31 pm EDT
As someone who has just returned from 6 years in Cambodia, I find the WHO's statement dubious. While Cambodia has made great strides in combating new HIV infections since the dismal years of the '90s and '00s, I suspect the WHO are relying on the Cambodian health ministry for their information. The Cambodian government puts a positive spin on their HIV situation, but the reality is much more problematic: corrupt officials siphoning off donor-funded medications to be sold on the black market, expired and placebo meds put in their place; communities with large HIV+ populations evicted from their homes in land grabs and relocated to areas without easy access to treatment, care, and basic hygiene; stigma and discrimination resulting in a lack of interest in the general population to seek out HIV testing.
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