Cambodian PM Urges Vigilance over Rise in New HIV Infections

A Cambodian health official takes a blood sample from a villager during a screening for HIV in Kandal province on February 22, 2016. Photo by TANG CHHIN Sothy / AFP

PHNOM PENH -- Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday called for people to be vigilant over a significant rise in new HIV infections last year.

"Some 1,400 people became newly infected with HIV in 2022, about 300 higher than those infected in 2021," he said during a meeting with thousands of factory workers in Phnom Penh.

The new infections were mostly detected among men having sex with men, he said, urging people having many sexual partners to use condoms in order to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

According to a National AIDS Authority's report, roughly four people become infected with HIV every day, and 83 percent of total new HIV infections were female entertainment workers, men having sex with men, transgender women, people using and injecting drugs, and their sexual partners.

The report said currently, there are about 76,000 people living with HIV (PLHIV) in the Southeast Asian country, and 86 percent of them knew their HIV status, as around 11,000 people do not know that they are living with HIV.

"Some 64,931 PLHIV have access to antiretroviral therapy, or 99 percent of the PLHIV who knew their status are accessing treatment," the report said.

In Cambodia, the first HIV infections were detected and diagnosed in 1991 and the first AIDS case was found in 1993.

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