An HIV-positive resident of Battambang province’s Roka commune died on Monday, marking yet another death in the area where an outbreak of HIV was first detected in December 2014.
Loeum Lorm, a volunteer for Buddhism for Development in the commune, identified the deceased as Chhoeun Thuok, 60, a widow.
“A total of 28 HIV-positive residents have died in the area since the outbreak was detected in 2014,” Mr Lorm said. “In 2017, three HIV-positive villagers died in Roka commune.”
Out of the 28 deaths, 23 were women and five were men.
Beng Sor, director of the commune’s health centre, said Ms Thuok died because she did not take medication regularly.
“I appeal to all HIV-positive people to come forward and take medication regularly,” he said, adding that the health centre had a new building where sick patients could rest during treatment.
Nearly 300 residents of two villages in Roka commune tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS from November 2014 until 2016.
An investigation into the outbreak found that unlicensed medical practitioner Yem Chrin, who had been practising medicine in Roka village since the early 1990s, was to blame.
Mr Chrin had reused syringes, needles and other medical equipment that allowed the virus to spread among his patients, the investigation by the Health Ministry and World Health Organisation found.
On September 8, 2017, the Appeal Court upheld the decision of the Battambang Provincial Court to sentence Mr Chrin to 25 years in prison for infecting almost 300 villagers with HIV via the reuse of unclean needles.
Mr Chrin was also ordered to pay compensation to 107 victims, ranging from $12.50 to about $3,000, and banned from ever practising medicine in the future.