The HIV/AIDS issue in Cambodia

Sexual Transmitted Diseases still remain a big issue in Cambodia. In 2015, according to UNAIDS, 74 000 people were living with HIV/AIDS. This figure can be explained by the lack of education on the prevention methods that can be used. Indeed, only 39 percent of women and 48 percent of men age 15-49 have comprehensive knowledge about HIV/AIDS. Among the population, people that experience sex with multiple partners are the most affected, which correspond to Entertainment Workers (EW), Men who sleep with Men (MSM) and Transgenders (TG).

What we do?

Khemara has implemented the HIV/AIDS project in 2001 and the organization covers more and more areas since then. The project operates in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and also Mondulkiri and Ranatakiri. The main objective of the project consists in providing education to the key population and gives the contraception they can’t afford. Our staff conduct educational workshop in the target areas (KTV, massage places, beaches..) to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, the importance of using condoms and also getting
tested regularly. Khemara is trying hard to maintain strong relationship with our beneficiaries by organizing meetings where they can talk about the problems they face. We also give an emergency phone number they can contact at any time. In terms of health, our staff starts the testing process and, if the test is positive, we refer the person to health center. We work closely with the hospital to increase the number of people receiving treatments. As in Khmer culture, prostitution and homosexuality is not fully accepted, medical staff tend to be really contemptuous with this people. Khemara’s staff make sure to choose hospital where theses communities will receive warm welcome, attentive earn and, above all, high quality treatment.

Looking forward…

Besides HIV/AIDS, there are many other sexual transmitted diseases that become endemic in Cambodia. Hepatitis C is one of them. This disease can have major consequences such as liver cancer and death. However, if people get more and more tested for HIV/AIDS, they often don’t do the same for Hepatitis C, which enhances the spread of the disease and increase the number of people infected every year. For its future project, Khemara would like to work on this issue and provide to the population education on the topic but also free tests and treatments in order to help the population affected and prevent the non-affected people. We still lack of funding to implement this ambitious project and need support. You can make a difference!