US launches HIV research in Cambodia
Updated: 2013-12-11 15:42
PHNOM PENH -- The United States government on Wednesday launched a HIV research project in Cambodia, aiming to collect and disseminate critical data that will help the country in the fight against HIV.
Men Chean Rithy, coordinator for the newly-launched HIV Innovate and Evaluate Project, said the US provided $6.3 million over a period of four years and a half to the University Research Company to support the evaluation, operational research and assessment of the HIV/AIDS activities in Cambodia.
"We will assess the cost-effectiveness of various HIV/AIDS activities relative to their impact in order to build an evidence base that can be used for making decisions and plans in the future, " he said.
"The project will target those Cambodians who are considered to be most at risk for transmitting or becoming infected with HIV/ AIDS," he said.
Rebecca Black, director of the U.S. Agency for International Development to Cambodia, said the project would work closely with the Cambodian government counterparts and development partners to build a strong foundation in applied research for evidence-based decision making to support national efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
"It will generate information that can be used for policy and program improvements as well as documenting the achievements and challenges of national responses in the fight against HIV/AIDS," she said.
According to the National AIDS Authority of Cambodia, the HIV carrier rate among Cambodian adults aged between 15 and 49 years is 0.7 percent in 2013, down from 0.8 percent in 2011 and 2.5 percent in 1998.
At present, the Southeast Asian nation has an estimated 71,347 people living with HIV/AIDS including 38,420 females and 6,850 children, it said. About 85 percent of them have received antiretroviral drugs.
The nation estimated 2,365 deaths and 1,330 new HIV infections last year.
Health Minister Mam Bunheng said Cambodia has vowed to achieve the United Nations principles by getting to the "Three Zeros" HIV/ AIDS target by 2020. The three zeros include zero new HIV infections, zero stigma and discrimination and zero AIDS-related death.
"I am convinced that the US-funded project will contribute to the successful implementation of the Three Zeros goal by 2020," he said at the project launching.