Specialists of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Southeast
Asia HIV and Development Project have warned that Cambodia still
remains one of the world's most HIV/AIDS-affected countries. This
is true despite the fact that the estimated prevalence among
adults ages 15 to 49 has shown a steady decline from 3.9 percent
in 1997 to 2.8 percent in 2001.
It is estimated that of the 11 million people in the
country, there are about 200,000 people with HIV/AIDS, and this
number is expected to grow quickly in the next five years. The
epidemic is largely due to heterosexual intercourse, with men
bringing infection from prostitutes to their wives, according to
reports from the National AIDS Authority (NAA) and non-
governmental (NGO) organizations in the country.
Two percent of Cambodian women who had blood tests and
pregnancy checkups were infected with HIV/AIDS, and 4,000 babies
had the virus. As many as 30,000 children have HIV, and about 200
children die of the disease annually, reports indicated. The NAA,
joined by the UNDP Southeast Asia HIV and Development Project
have studied the heavily affected areas along major highways,
National Routes One and Five that link neighboring countries in
the Greater Mekong Sub-region.
In response to the epidemic, the NAA was set up in 1999 to
strengthen policy, consolidate structures and functions for
response and to mobilize resources nationally and
internationally. It plans to actively work on raising public
awareness of HIV transmission, to educate local people, and to
launch, with provincial authorities, the 100 percent condom use
programs, which will be expanded to the public nationwide.
Cambodia has drafted a National Strategic Framework for a
Comprehensive and Multi-sectoral Response to HIV/AIDS 2001-2005.
The government has asked related departments to pay attention to
increasing respect for the rights and status of women and girls,
as well as encouraging men and boys to engage in safer sexual