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Cash boost for anti-HIV treatment

Sen David / Khmer Times Share:
The site of a mass HIV outbreak in 2014. Supplied

The government is to add millions of dollars to its budget for drugs against HIV and its opportunistic illnesses for its battle to reduce and eliminate infections.

A government official confirmed that the budget for the drugs would rise to $4.5 million from 2018 to 2020, from $3.7 million from 2015 to 2017.

The National AIDS Authority held a two-day workshop on Friday to guide development of a roadmap for progress. Authority chairman Ieng Mouly announced the budget increase.

Mr Mouly added that the government has agreed to provide $5.2 million in total to buttress $41.6 million from the Global Fund for 2018 to 2020.

Authority secretary-general Teng Khunthy said that Cambodia needed at least that much money per year to buy anti-HIV and opportunistic illnesses drugs.

The money came from the government and international donors. He said the increase in the budget was required to meet the needs of the people with the illness.

“People with this illness need this kind of drug to prolong their lives,” he said. “These drugs are very important for their lives, so it is a serious role for the government to help them.”

“The government must support them by providing anti-HIV and opportunistic illness drugs by finding money in the budget and from donors,” he added.

On Wednesday of last week, UNAIDS managing director Eamonn Murphy met Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Porn Moniroth at the ministry office.

Mr Murphy said UNAIDS highly appreciated the progress and success of the Cambodia government in its fight against HIV/ AIDs, noting Cambodia had become a leader in the field.

He also said that UNAIDS was committed to continue supporting the government in the fight against HIV by providing full cooperation to support more successful Global Fund finance.

On May 23, Prime Minister Hun Sen said that HIV seemed to be rising a little. He urged everyone to practice safe sex amid a rise in HIV transmission in drug users.

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 would know their HIV status.

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

The 90-90-90- goal translated 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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