International AIDS Conference

International AIDS Conference

July 02, 2013
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Cambodia seeks to halt progression of HIV by 2020

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The new initiative Cambodia 3.0 aims to eliminate new infections of HIV in the country by 2020, according to a presentation at the 2013 International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

In the mid-1990s, Cambodia had one of the fastest growing HIV epidemics with 20,000 new infections in the decade, according to a press release. Yet this trend reversed within 5 years, with the number of infections estimated to have decreased to 1,300 in 2012.

The decline in new infections began with HIV and STI prevention in sex work settings from 1998 to 2001 and the HIV Continuum of Care, which heavily promoted HIV counseling, testing, care and treatment at district-level hospitals from 2001 to 2011. The prevalence of HIV infection in sex workers decreased from 42% in 1996 to 14% in 2006, with the overall prevalence in the country decreasing from 1.7% in 1998 to a projected 0.7% in 2011.

“The South East Asian region and beyond can learn hugely important lessons from the Cambodian success story in dramatically turning around the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, International AIDS Society (IAS) 2013 international chair and IAS president, said in a press release. “Cambodia is, in many senses, a proof of concept on how to effectively implement science on the ground in order to scale up treatment and prevention in a very poor country.”

One of the problems HIV programs face is the transition in care from pediatric to adult HIV care systems, with incidences of poor adherence, treatment failure and loss to follow-up, Linda-Gail Bekker, deputy director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre and associate professor of medicine of the University of Capetown, said at the presentation. The opposing goals of legal policies and care programs also slow progression and further stigma, according to another speaker, Aziza Ahmed, assistant professor of law at Northeastern University School of Law.

For more information:

Vun MC. Opening Remarks. Presented at: 7th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention; June 30-July 03, 2013; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia