Tags: 100 | hiv | cambodia | outbreak

Cambodia HIV Outbreak: 100-Plus People Diagnosed; Investigation Sought

Image: Cambodia HIV Outbreak: 100-Plus People Diagnosed; Investigation Sought
A HIV-positive woman stands in the doorway of one of the sewing workshops set up in the community by residents on September 6, 2014 in Tuol Sambo, Cambodia. (Omar Havana/Getty Images, file)

By    |   Friday, 19 Dec 2014 06:50 PM

More than 100 HIV infections in a single Cambodian village have spurred the country’s prime minister to ask for an investigation.

PM Hun Sen called for an inquiry, but CNN said local media have reported the surge in HIV cases in Rokar was caused by contaminated needles being used by a doctor without a license.

As news of the infections came out, about 800 residents of the small village came in for testing, and the National AIDS authority said 106 people have tested positive.

"I urge everyone to stay calm and avoid listening to or spreading rumors," CNN quoted Dr. Mam Bunheng, minister of health, from a press release. "We should also all fully respect the privacy of the affected families and ensure they do not face stigma and discrimination."

The Phnom Penh Post reported that Hun also expressed doubt about the accuracy of the tests and questioned whether the problem truly was AIDS, the disease that develops from HIV.

The newspaper said other health organizations, though, have no doubt it’s HIV. Villagers accused a local unlicensed doctor, Yem Chroeum, of causing the outbreak.

“Chroeum remains in custody, though no charges have been laid and his family has insisted that he is being kept away from his village in Roka commune to protect his safety,” the Post said. “Seoum Chhorm, the deputy commune chief, has tested positive to HIV and has threatened that he and other villagers will kill Chroeum.”

Hun Sen has called for security to protect the doctor, pointing to other instances where villagers killed people “accused of sorcery,” the Post said.

About 9,000 people live in the village and surrounding area, and the HIV infection rate in Cambodia is generally not significant. Just 0.7 percent of Cambodian residents aged 15 to 49 have HIV, which is close to what it is in the United States; in South Africa, the rate is 19.1 percent.

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More than 100 HIV infections in a single Cambodian village have spurred the country's prime minister to ask for an investigation.
100, hiv, cambodia, outbreak
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2014-50-19
Friday, 19 Dec 2014 06:50 PM
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