Cambodia Turns to Private Sector in Fight Against AIDS
November 21, 2007
On Wednesday, Cambodia's first lady and president of the Cambodian Red Cross Bun Rany Hun Sen visited a garment factory to support private sector initiatives to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS. On World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, Bun Rany is expected to launch a business guide on HIV and AIDS. In the coming months, she is also scheduled to visit other businesses that have developed educational programs or that financially support HIV efforts.
Cambodia's rapid economic growth means businesses are having a greater impact on communities than donor-based programs. The country's more than 300,000 garment workers are considered at high risk for HIV, since many of them are young women who come from rural areas where prevention programs are lacking.
In addition, the country's high HIV rate has prompted men to seek out girlfriends instead of prostitutes. While these relationships are rarely exclusive, the girlfriends are less likely to insist on using condoms with men they feel they know.
At the US-Taiwan jointly owned Interhope factory, Bun Rany told the more than 1,000, mostly female workers: "Don't bring AIDS home. If the wife is affected, the children are affected too." "Most problems are caused when we forget AIDS, but AIDS never forgets us," she said.