In a follow-up to a report earlier this week, the Pasteur Institute in Phnom Penh, Cambodia says the number of HIV cases reported in the remote village of Roka in Battambang province have increased to 140, according to a Wall Street Journal report today.
This is up from 106 cases reported earlier this week..
The Cambodia country director for UNAIDS, Marie-Odile Edmond, said those residing in Roka commune are not in a high-risk category. “Among a general population, as we call it, no, there wouldn’t be so many cases suddenly detected. So it’s an unusual situation,” said Edmond.
The question was posed to Edmond about how is this virus being spread among the villagers, which include the very young and older people. She responded, “I’m not really able to comment on that because I think we really have to wait for the findings of the investigation, interviewing both that person and also the people from the clinic who have come for testing, the practice at that facility, but also the behavior.”
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) made the following statement Friday:
UNAIDS expresses its support for the people reported to have been affected by the recent HIV diagnoses in Battambang Province, Cambodia. UNAIDS is joining partners in supporting Cambodia’s Ministry of Health as it conducts a full epidemiological investigation and takes all necessary measures to prevent further HIV infections.
UNAIDS is working with the authorities to ensure that anyone who may have been affected has access to essential HIV treatment, care and support services. UNAIDS is also working with the ministry to ensure that the rights and privacy of all people are upheld. It is essential that people living with HIV live with dignity and without fear of stigma and discrimination.
In Cambodia, voluntary and confidential HIV testing and counselling are widely available free of charge and people living with HIV have access to free antiretroviral therapy across the country.
From having one of the most serious HIV epidemics in Asia in the mid-1990s, Cambodia has continued to make progress. New HIV infections have dropped by 67%, from 3900 in 2005 to 1300 in 2013. More than two thirds of the 75 000 people living with HIV are accessing antiretroviral therapy, which is the highest percentage of treatment access in the region.
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