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Cambodia: Drifters (04 Aug 2005)


The war-torn Cambodia has not fully recovered from decades-long battles. At present, over 10% Cambodians are wandering about homeless. In the past, the destitute worried about stepping on landmines. But now HIV is even deadlier. In Asia, HIV is the most rampant in Cambodia. According to the statistics collected by the National Centre for HIV/AIDS, Dermatology and STD (NCHADS), HIV prevalence among adults stood at 2.6% in 2002.Dr. Tia Phalla, the Secretary General of the National AIDS Authority, said, ‘ The drifters are separated from their spouse for a long time. Some of them call a prostitute occasionally. Others have themselves become a prostitute. ’ The feminine prostitute and the masculine police are highly risky group, owing to their frequent sexual exposure. Sexual inequality in Cambodia has also played a part in spreading HIV, for traditionally a man can have as many sex partners as he can afford.Following Thailand ’ s model, the Cambodia government has successfully kept HIV infection rate at a low level by promoting the use of condom. The achievement is remarkable, since Cambodia has become one of the three countries which report decrease in HIV infection rate, despite the fact that over 40% of its people are living below poverty line. Geeta Sethi, UNAIDS Country Coordinator, said: ‘ The success in Cambodia shows that poverty and lack of resources are no excuses. Things can be improved with determination. ’

Global Aid for AIDS
Publish Date: 
Thursday, August 4, 2005
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