Despite progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Cambodia still faces challenges in its bid to prevent new infections.
The National AIDS Authority on Friday released its 2019 report stating a total of 1,300 people have died from the disease in Cambodia.
Chhim Khim Dareth, National AIDS Authority spokesman told Khmer Times that Cambodia is on a positive trajectory against HIV/AIDS, but there is still work to do.
He said that he is working daily with the government and partner organisations to reach the goal of ending HIV/AIDS by 2025.
The prevalence rate as of the latest statistics is 0.5 percent, said Dareth.
According to the report released, a total of 73,000 people are living with HIV in Cambodia and 61,193 have had antiretroviral therapy.
The prevalence rate for people between the ages of 15 and 49 is 0.5 percent and there have been 780 new infection cases, it said.
The most vulnerable groups are female entertainment workers, drug addicts, men who have sex with men and transgenders, said Dareth.
The HIV prevalence among female entertainment workers is 3.2 percent, people who use drugs is 5.7 percent, people who injected drugs 15.2 percent, men who have sex with men 4 percent, and transgenders are 9.6 percent, the report said.
People living with HIV are now surviving, ageing, and requiring lifelong care and treatment, but the government hasn’t forgotten to still fight new infections of this global disease, said Dareth.
“HIV/AIDs is one of the main priorities of the public health policy of the government since it was first reported in Cambodia in 1991 because it doesn’t have a vaccine or medicine to curb its effects,” he said. “What we are currently using for treatment is just antiretroviral drugs (ARVs),” he added.
Cambodia is the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to have drawn a roadmap for a sustainable end to HIV/AIDS by 2025. To achieve this goal, the National Strategic Plan from 2019 to 2023 has been created.
For more than three decades, Cambodia has relied heavily on external funding to fight HIV/AIDS, but the government has been more involved since 2017.