Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday called on garment workers not to discriminate against their colleagues who are living with HIV.
Speaking at a meeting with workers in Kampong Chhnang province yesterday, Mr Hun Sen said all workers must educate each other about HIV prevention.
“We do not discriminate againt HIV-positive people working at the factory with us,” he added, noting there are many HIV-positive people working in factories.
“We have to remind and protect each other in order to prevent HIV transmission to other people,” he said. “I would like to send a message to all nieces and nephews to be in solidarity.”
Last month, Mr Hun Sen told workers to be cautious due to a rise of HIV transmission amongst drug users, urging people to practice safe sex. He also instructed workers to have blood tests before marriage or a relationship with someone.
The National AIDS Authority said that HIV transmission in Cambodia was decreasing, except for within the drug user group.
Teng Kunthy, secretary-general of the National AIDS Authority, supported the appeal of the premier yesterday.
“This is the right point. We would like to thank him for sending this message to workers,” he said, adding that discrimination is an obstacle to reducing HIV transmission.
Mr Kunthy said that discrimination leads to infected people avoiding blood tests, proper care and treatment.
Last year, the United Nations applauded Cambodia, which was ahead of every other country in Asia and the Pacific for its treatment against HIV.
It said that 57,000 people were HIV positive in the country and were accessing antiretroviral therapy, representing 80 percent of all people estimated to be infected.