Societal Aspects of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Cambodia


Cambodia has the highest HIV prevalence rate in Southeast Asia, but has made heartening progress in lowering that rate in recent years, according to the Cambodia Human Development Report 2001. The Report also finds that the rate of HIV infection among people ages 15 to 49 has declined steadily from 3.9 per cent in 1997 to 2.8 per cent last year, putting Cambodia on track to achieve the Millennium Development goal of halting and beginning to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015. However, despite progress, the impact of HIV/AIDS could reverse recent development gains. Pointing to complex links between HIV/AIDS, poverty and human development, the Report shows that HIV/AIDS poses a serious threat to the social welfare of an already fragile society. The authors recommend adopting a broad approach that gives voice to people living with HIV/AIDS, ensuring respect for the rights of people with the disease through improved awareness, and mediating social inequity to enable participation and mobilization of all social groups.