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Hun Sen warns of HIV rise

Ven Rathavong / Khmer Times Share:
The HIV rate for drug users has risen. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Prime Minister Hun Sen has urged everyone to practice safe sex amid a rise in HIV transmission.

Mr Hun Sen told garment workers in Kampong Speu province yesterday that the increased rate meant everyone who had multiple sexual partners should be careful and prevent infection.

“AIDS seems to be rising a little bit,” he said, “Please be cautious. All nieces and nephews must have blood tests before marriage or having a relationship with someone.”

“If you are not sure, please use protection,” Mr Hun Sen added, urging condom use with multiple sexual partners or unknown partners.

He told the workers that men especially would infect their families if they had many partners and neglected to use condoms.

“Our country is one which has successfully reduced the rate of AIDS and HIV transmission,” he said, noting that having one sexual partner and being faithful to that partner was the best way to prevent HIV transmission.

Secretary-general of the National AIDS Authority Teng Kunthy said HIV transmission in Cambodia was still decreasing, except for within one group — drug users.

Dr Kunthy added that the National Centre for HIV/AIDS Dermatology and STDs had studied many groups, including vulnerable groups and drug users.

On Monday, the centre released a report on drug users with a comparison to 2012. At that time, there was about a three percent infection rate, which had increased to five percent in 2017.

“So the report showed increasing HIV transmission in the group of drug users,” he said. “Now we are working and taking measures to prevent the increase in this group.”

Last year, the United Nations applauded Cambodia, which is ahead of every country in Asia and the Pacific for the coverage of its treatment against HIV.

It said that 57,000 people living with HIV in the country were accessing antiretroviral therapy, representing 80 percent of all people estimated to be infected.

The UN has set targets known as 90-90-90. This means that by 2020, 90 percent of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status.

At the same time, 90 percent of all people diagnosed with HIV will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90 percent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.

The 90-90-90 goal translates into 73 percent of people living with HIV being virally suppressed, a figure Cambodia has already reached before completing all three 90-90-90 targets.

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