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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Some 2,500 Cambodians die of HIV/AIDS in 2011: official

PHNOM PENH(Xinhua) – Cambodia's Vice-Chair of National AIDS Authority Tia Phalla said Tuesday that it's estimated that some 2,500 HIV/AIDS patients died this year and the deaths would decline to about 2,300 in 2012.

"Cambodia has seen success in fighting HIV/AIDS -- the prevalence rate among adults aged 15 to 49 has dropped to 0.8 percent in 2010 from 2.5 percent in 1998," he said on Tuesday at a press meeting and photo exhibition to commemorate the World AIDS Day. "However, the deaths, new infections and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS still persist in this country. "

He said that the number of new infections exceeds 1,000 a year.

In Cambodia, the first HIV infection was detected and diagnosed in 1991 and the first AIDS case was found in 1993.

Tia Phalla said that it is difficult to verify the number of Cambodian people who have died from the disease since then as some AIDS infected people had been killed by opportunity diseases such as hepatitis or tuberculosis.

Meanwhile, he said that the country has seen good results in promoting the use of condoms.

According to a recent annual research survey, he said, condom use of male clients of the entertainment industry and with sweethearts has been steadily increasing.

The survey showed that the condom use among commercial partners increased from 85 percent in 2008 to 96 percent in 2011 thanks to sustained investment and targeted outreach to this important target group.

On the other hand, condom use among sweethearts has increased from 58 percent in 2008 to 60 percent this year, he said.

Currently, the country has an estimated 67,000 people living with HIV/AIDS. Some 6,000 of them are children, according to the National AIDS Authority.

The country needs about 58 million U.S. dollars a year to fight against HIV/AIDS, said Tia Phalla, adding that the current challenge for the country is fund shortage due to the recent announcement of the cancellation of the next round of funding from the Global Fund to Cambodia.

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