Report: Fewer Cambodian Men Paying for Sex, Condom Use Rising
May 24, 2002
Fewer Cambodian men are visiting sex workers, while those who still do are using condoms more frequently, said a report released by Cambodia's National HIV/AIDS Center. The report surveyed sexual behavior last year by high-risk groups in Cambodia, where rampant prostitution is blamed for one of the region's highest HIV infection rates. Cambodia's rate of infection among adults ages 15 to 49 is 2.8 percent.
Only 20 percent of soldiers surveyed in 2001 said that they had visited a prostitute in the previous month, down from 47 percent in 1999. A study was not conducted in 2000. Among police officers, the figure dropped to 18.5 percent from 37 percent, and for motorbike taxi drivers, to 8.5 percent from 34.5 percent. "The greatest change in behavior is among men: significantly fewer had recent commercial sex," the report said.
It also noted that the rate of condom use during commercial sex had risen among all risk groups, to approximately 90 percent. The sex trade flourishes in Cambodia, where it is common for young single and married men to visit prostitutes. As tourism increases, visitors are also contributing to the boom.
Cambodian officials estimate that some 70,000 Cambodians have died from AIDS in the past decade. The new report praises the work of non-governmental organizations and also government information campaigns, which apparently have reached high-risk groups such as sex workers with messages about the importance of using condoms to protect against disease and pregnancy. "Condom promotion and risk behavior reduction has been highly successful to date in Cambodia; program effort must be maintained to sustain this positive behavior change," it said.
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.