HIV education among young must improve: Health census

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The workshop on a multi-sectoral HIV response in Cambodia was held in the capital on September 20. NAA

In Cambodia, 84 per cent of people living with HIV were aware of their status, with 99 per cent of them diagnosed and treated. 97 per cent of those living with HIV are receiving antiretroviral treatment. The government remains committed to achieving its 95-95-95 targets.

Ieng Mouly, president of the National AIDS Authority, said at a high-level workshop reflecting the multi-sectoral response to HIV and AIDS in Cambodia on September 20 that this means that the spread of HIV/AIDS is the result of the estimated 11,000 individuals (including key people and their partners) who have not been tested and are unaware of their status.

He said the workshop focused on strengthening coordination for the implementation of key priorities of the Mid-Term Review Recommendations from the Fifth National Strategic Plan for the comprehensive and multilateral response to HIV and AIDS.

“We look forward to finding ways to strengthen national systems to respond to HIV and AIDS effectively, efficiently and sustainably through the 31-year-old mechanism,” he said.

According to Mouly, the government is committed to achieving the 95-95-95 targets and ensuring that there will be fewer than 300 new HIV infections per year by 2025. The response of Cambodia to the spread of HIV is considered a regional and global success.

Chuob Sokchamroeun, executive director of NGO Khana, told The Post on September 21 that Cambodia’s targets for 2025 are to achieve 95 per cent of the three goals: first, 95 per cent of those living with HIV are aware of their condition, 95 per cent are diagnosed and treated, and 95 per cent have the lowest HIV status, thanks to antiretroviral therapy.

He said, however, that in 2022, when it came to the first goal – for people to be aware of their status – only 84 per cent of infected people were aware of their condition. Cambodia has already achieved the second and third goals, but the first remains an obstacle due to lack of resources and cooperation from all stakeholders.

“We have achieved 84 per cent of this goal thanks to the leadership of the government, which has pushed for a successful response to HIV/AIDS,” he added.

According to the Factsheet 2022-Cambodia HIV Statistics released by UNAIDS, there were 74,000 people living with HIV in Cambodia in 2021 and 1,100 new cases of HIV infection. There were 62,561 people living with HIV receiving antiretroviral therapy.

Every day, three people are infected with HIV. Of the 1,100 new infections in 2021, 71 percent are men and boys, with the highest number being between 15 and 24 years old, about 42 per cent of the total.

Data from the Health and Demographic Census (DHS) 2021-2022 show that only 23 per cent of 15 to 24 year-olds had a comprehensive knowledge of HIV/AIDS. The figure is down from 38 per cent in 2014 and 44 per cent in 2010.

Cambodia would like to reduce new infections by 250 cases per year until 2025, so efforts are still limited and need to be stepped up to spread awareness of HIV and AIDS among 15 to 24 year-olds, it showed.