HIV/AIDS prevalence in Cambodia drops to 0.7 pct in 2013: official

HIV/AIDS prevalence in Cambodia drops to 0.7 pct in 2013: official

PHNOM PENH, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- The prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS infections in Cambodia has declined to 0.7 percent in 2013, down from 0.8 percent two years ago, a senior government official said Sunday.

"According to scientific estimation, in 2013, HIV carrier rate among adults aged between 15 and 49 years is 0.7 percent, down further from 0.8 percent in 2011 and 2.5 percent in 1998," Ieng Mouly, chairman of the National AIDS Authority, said during the commemoration of the 25th World AIDS Day.

"This means that Cambodia has the sufficient possibilities to control the spread of HIV/AIDS successfully, and it hopes that the spread would drop further next year," he said.

At present, Cambodia has an estimated 71,347 people living with HIV/AIDS including 38,420 females and 6,850 children.

Mouly said about 85 percent of eligible people living with HIV/ AIDS has received antiretroviral drugs and will secure a move toward 100 percent achievement on this care target in 2014.

Another outstanding achievement this year was the growing rate of pregnant women using services to reduce the transmission of HIV/ AIDS from mother to child and the growing rate of HIV-carrying pregnant women receiving treatment to prevent the transmission of AIDS to newborns.

"As a result, the transmission rate of AIDS from mother to child is just 2 percent in 2013," he said. "It is firmly hoped that Cambodia would be able to join the world to completely reduce the transmission of HIV from mother to child by 2015."

HIV/AIDS had killed estimated 2,365 people in 2012, down 9 percent year-on-year, the National Institute of Public Health said, the country saw about 1,330 new HIV infections last year, down 12 percent year-on-year.

Addressing the World AIDS Day, Deputy Prime Minister Ke Kim Yan said with concerted efforts between the government and all development partners and stakeholders, Cambodia would be likely to achieve the United Nations principles by getting to the "Three Zeros" HIV/AIDS target by 2020.

The three zeros include zero new HIV infections, zero stigma and discrimination and zero AIDS-related death.

"To achieve this target, I'd like to urge all citizens to constantly learn about how to prevent HIV/AIDS infections in order to prevent themselves and their families from the danger of the virus," he said. "All employees and customers at entertainment establishments should adhere to the 100 percent condom use."

Marie-Odile Emond, UNAIDS Country Coordinator for Cambodia, hailed Cambodia for its continued commitment to fighting against HIV/AIDS and said the United Nations was committed and proud to stand behind Cambodia to achieve the three zeros.

"Cambodia is on a journey towards achieving the three zeros," she said. "The journey includes known and still unknown hills to climb, but one day, Cambodia will reach those three zeros."

The country needs about 58 million U.S. dollars a year to fight against HIV/AIDS to achieve the three zeros HIV/AIDS target by 2020.

The first HIV infections were detected and diagnosed in Cambodia in 1991 and the first AIDS case was found in 1993, according to the National AIDS Authority.