December 16, 2013
This article was reported by the Women News Network.
The Women News Network reported that UN grantees had launched the "Strengthening the Economic Livelihoods Opportunities for Low-Income and HIV-Positive Women" program successfully in 12 Cambodian provinces from 2011 to 2013. The grantees, Cambodia Health Education Media Service and Cambodian HIV/AIDS Education and Care, partnered with community-based organizations, Cambodia's Ministry of Information, the National AIDS Authority, and the Ministry of Women's Affairs to implement the program. The two-year program took a comprehensive approach that educated women and their families about HIV/AIDS, and strengthened economic opportunities, leadership skills, and access to healthcare.
Before the regional healthcare campaign's launch, many HIV-infected Cambodian women lacked knowledge about HIV and AIDS and faced poverty and discrimination alone. The program's home-based care teams have reached more than 1,300 women in two years, sharing livelihood skills training, making mini-grants to start businesses, and providing health counseling and home-based care services. The program also included self-help group meetings that increased participants' awareness of HIV-infected women's rights and developed advocacy skills.
The National AIDS Authority's program evaluation indicated that women in the program were generating more income, allowing them access to better nutrition and food security for their families and more funds for children's schooling. Women who participated in the program also were more committed to continue and expand their livelihood activities.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AID (UNAIDS) reported that in 2006, 52 percent of new HIV infections in Asia occurred among women; in 2011, 44 percent of new HIV infections occurred among women. UNAIDS expected the downward trend to continue.